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Windhill21

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Learning for the 21st Century

Forest School

What is Forest School?

The ethos of Forest School is an ideal way of allowing children to be nurtured and develop.

It is all about:

  • The learner being able to use all their learning styles whilst learning and discovering new ones.
  • About developing self-awareness and social skills
  • Allowing children to learn at their own pace
  • Children being given choices as well as experiencing new and challenging things.
  • Open ended learning and holistic approaches. 

It helps all learners become better learners 

     

What do we do?

We always try where possible to link all areas of the curriculum into our Forest school sessions. Last year saw an array of outcomes from recreating the streets from the Great Fire of London, The Lost cities of Mexico to 3D stick pyramids and World War 1.

In addition art and design features greatly as well as team building and trust games.

At the beginning of last November the children created their own Memorial to celebrate the 100th anniversary of WW1 by making their own poppies out of autumn leaves.

However one of the biggest projects last year was completed by the children in year 4. Through careful research and sharing their ideas, they built their very own ‘Windhill Bug Hotel’ which tied in perfectly with their science topic ‘Habitats.’

The children thoroughly enjoy Forest school even when we are all ankle deep in mud! But by far their favourite time is when the fire is lit and they can toast marshmallows!

We are very much looking forward to this year where we will continue with a variety of activities throughout KS1 and KS2 and perhaps even start to use the tools.

For additional information, here is a Forest School information pack.

Brief summary of Forest school last year

There was plenty of activities last year in Forest School including Pyramid building, tree sculptures, team building games as well as mini trench building and even a spooky theme with plenty of broomstick and skeleton making. Oh and a sea horse found by one pupil! It’s amazing what you find in our forest, with a bit of imagination! 

 

Last year there was great excitement caused by the building of Windhill21's very own Bug Hotel. This project was totally run by last year’s year 4’s (current year 5), from the research to the placing and design of the hotel. For a Forest School leader, it is great to see so much enthusiasm from the children and makes every session totally fulfilling.

It is hoped that in time the visitors will move in and in turn it will become a great resource for the school to tie in with science and habitat related topics.

About the Forest School Leaders

Deanna Smith

Many of you may already know me, as I have been a TA at Windhill21 since April 2006 supporting in Key stage 2. I am currently working in Done Class (year 3).

In 2010 I became an HLTA and after showing an interest in Forest School and outside learning I completed and passed my level 3 Forest School practitioner training in September 2013.

Since then I have regularly been delivering Forest school sessions throughout KS2 giving all the children the opportunity to experience the many sides of Forest School.

Debbie Rawding

I joined Windhill21 in September working in Year 2 Kusama class as a TA and with the additional role as Forest School practitioner in year 1 once a week.

I previously worked at another local school for 8 years as a TA mainly in EYFS, with the last 2 years as a Forest School practitioner working with small groups of mixed age children nurturing their individual needs as well as whole class sessions.

In addition I was a staff governor in my previous school which in turn has given me a deeper understanding of the whole school community.