‘Forest School’ is an extremely important part of our curriculum and plays a key part with regard to the spiritual, social, emotional and personal development of our children.
Forest School is something we have been passionate about for many years. In building the outdoor amphitheater and clearing and fencing off the woodland to make it a safe learning environment, it has meant that we have been operating as a Forest School for the last 5 years now.
Our ethos of Forest School is based on respect for our children to investigate and demonstrate curiosity in the world around them. We believe in children's right to play; to access the outdoors (and in particular a woodland environment); and the right to experience a healthy range of emotions, through social interaction and build a resilience that will enable continued creativity with their peers and their potential.
Forest School offers learning experiences for our children that go beyond the factual; excitement, fascination, joy, awe and wonder, beauty, revelation, inspiration and inquisitiveness of the world that God created. It encourages them to develop a deep awareness and appreciation of all things, a respect for themselves and a respect for others.
Mrs Taylor-O'Brien is our Forest School Leader, assisted by Mrs Folan. Mrs Taylor-O'Brien has attained Level 3 training (which is the nationally recognised level of training required to lead a ‘Forest School’) and Mrs Folan has attained Forest School Assistant Training Level 2.
Forest School runs on a full timetable from Early Years up to and including Year 3. This means that all children starting school at Christ Church CE Academy attend Forest School once a week for the first four years of their school life. Key Stage 2 pupils are offered 'reward days' to Forest School throughout the year.
The areas of benefit identified by a number of studies reflect the outcomes which time and again are associated with Forest School:
- increased self-esteem and self-confidence
- improved social skills
- the development of language and communication skills
- improved physical motor skills
- improved motivation and concentration
- increased knowledge and understanding of the environment