Forest Schools

Using Outdoor Learning to Enhance our Curriculum

Outdoor learning involves a skilled practitioner selecting a curriculum area and utilising the special nature of outdoors to deliver content in an exciting and engaging way. An example of this would be an outdoor maths session that includes collecting and sorting leaves using different criteria, or a history topic on the Stone Age brought to life in the woodland. The slight difference to forest school is that the practitioner already has an idea of the outcomes, the sessions are adult led and the sessions can be intermittent or occasional.
When carefully planned and linked to the children’s interests and ongoing learning, Outdoor Learning can be a powerful way to engage learners with our Cornerstones topics or a discrete curriculum area. All areas of the curriculum can be delivered outdoors and the opportunities for children to experience new learning or revisit familiar ideas outdoors is limited only by the imagination!

At Ernesford Grange, we currently provide outdoor learning experiences to all age groups however, there are three year groups that we focus on and utilise the Forest School area with. Below is a detailed table to show when each year group is led by a Forest School Leader for outdoor learning and which curriculum topic they would be exploring;

Forest School Nurture Groups

Forest School Nurture Groups support those children that are experiencing anxiety, disruptive classroom behaviour, challenges at home or a lack of stability in their lives.
These are a series of session for small groups of children (maximum of ten) who need extra support with their confidence, resilience and self-esteem. Engaging with the natural environment helps to build the ‘soft skills’ that support social and emotional development.
Research shows that children who engage with the natural environment are more able to focus once back in the classroom. The ethos of Forest School allows children the space to make their own decisions and learn that they can make choices and influence their own outcomes. It gives them the scope to realise their own interests and the opportunity to explore them.
These sessions could also be offered on a one to one basis.