Welcome to the Smeeth Forest School
What is Forest School?
Forest School is a form of outdoor education, which has an inspirational and child centred learning process at its core. This offers opportunities for holistic growth through regular sessions. It is a long term programme that supports play, development, exploration and risk taking. It increases confidence and self-esteem through child centred hands-on experiences in a natural setting. The process is underpinned by six core principles that define Forest School.
Forest school is carried out over a long period of time, and not one off sessions. This helps children to revisit previous learning and explore at their own pace. It gives children the opportunity to create new relationships and engage in the environment allowing children to feel comfortable to take risks and practice new skills.
Being in nature helps children to relax, destress, concentrate and enables children to find where they fit into the world. In a natural environment children will find rich learning opportunities and build using natural materials, giving the opportunity for the children to value their surroundings.
By taking calculated risks children will overcome vulnerabilities or fears and intime learn how to assess risk for themselves. Children are able to try new things and challenge themselves by exploring their abilities which in turn builds resilience.
The community principle ensures the children take control of their learning, explore their motivations and gain confidence and experience. The children learn to problem solve and are able to explore their interests in greater depths.
Holistic Learning Principles
The children are able to develop socially, physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually, they are able to self - regulate and communicate their thoughts and feelings. Children gain a better understanding of their emotions and what they mean for them.
A Forest School Leader will provide support but not solutions so the children can problem solve independently. Leaders will model behaviour and communication and observe the needs and motivations of the children. The leader will facilitate children’s interests and provide opportunities for learning.
The Role of Play in Forest School
Play is the highest form of research - Albert Einstein
Almost all creativity involves purposeful play - Abraham Maslow
Children need freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity. - Kay Redfield Jamison
At Smeeth Forest school we believe play is an essential part of your child’s holistic development. Play is a process that is personally directed, freely chosen and intrinsically motivated. It offers your children opportunities to use their creativity by Forest School leaders facilitating and providing appropriate resources to develop your child’s imagination, enabling them to engage in social open ended play. This freely chosen play will support your child’s dexterity and physicality using both gross and fine motor skills. Children can lead their own learning by following what interests them, supporting their cognitive development and emotional strength and resilience.
What to wear?
‘There is no such thing as bad weather, just unsuitable clothing’
At Smeeth Forest School we will go out each week in all weathers and it is important that your child is dressed appropriately for the weather. Children need to have a warm waterproof coat and preferably waterproof over trousers, along with gloves, hats and scarfs when it is very cold. We have a few ‘puddle suits’ available for the younger children of the school to use, (up to age 5). The children wear wellington boots but it is advisable to wear an extra warm pair of socks. The Forest School Leader will assess the weather using the Beaufort Scale and should wind speeds increase or if there is a risk of thunder and lightning Forest School will be moved to a safer area. In the warmer months please send your child in with a hat and sunscreen.