What is Forest School?
Forest School is a specialist approach to learning which has its origins from educational practices in Scandinavia, where they embrace a culture of 'friluftsliv' (outdoor life).
In Britain, the introduction of Forest School settings began in the 1990's and has gained momentum throughout the 2000's. Since the establishment of the Forest School Association in 2020, six principles for Forest School have been established to promote best practice by Forest School practitioners and to maintain standards and consistent Forest School provision.
How does Farnborough Forest School provide quality provision?
Our leaders work to uphold the six core principles of Forest School within our programmes to ensure we are true to the origins and ethos of the Forest School approach to learning. We are committed to ensure these principles remain at the heart of our provision.
Forest School takes part in woodland or natural environment
We select dynamic spaces in local natural sites for our sessions. They may vary in size, but we ensure they have a diverse range of flora and fauna and room to allow the children the freedom to explore safely.
If we are working within school sites, we work with the management to find and develop a space which allows the children to feel surrounded by nature with a mixture of mature trees, shrubs and forest floor plants.
Forest School uses a range of learner centered processes
Our leaders and staff our reflective practitioners. Through careful observation of the children during sessions we develop programmes and sessions to facilitate opportunities, resources and experiences for the children which are based on their individual interests and development.
We listen carefully to the children's own ideas within sessions, and try to facilitate their desires in subsequent sessions.
As a consequence of keeping our numbers of participants per session to 16 and high adult to child ratios, we are able to get to know the children individually and tailor our sessions to them.
Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions
We believe that magic happens over time and for children to develop and reap the benefits of the Forest School education they need to attend regularly and across seasons.
Through the organisation of our programmes, we promote that children attend on a regular routine and for a long term series of sessions.
This enables them to become confident and comfortable in the environment and develop friendships. They are then able to observe the ever-changing environment, make safe risk assessment and connect with the space as their own. Consequently, their holistic development can blossom.
Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all involved
The environment, resources and activities which we provide allow all participants (including our children, staff, parents and visitors) to connect and develop physically, emotionally, socially, intellectually, spiritually, morally and ethically.
Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported, appropriate risks
We believe that learning to respect risk and hazards through play helps children to cope with risks and dangers in later life. Through our planned activities children learn their own limits, how far they can go before they feel unsafe and gain the confidence to stop or not partake with out feeling pressuarised by peers or adults.
Throughout the sessions, the children are actively involved in risk assessment discussions developing awareness of how to reduce risk for themselves and others.
All activities we offer are fully risk benefit analysed to minimise danger.
Forest School is run by qualified practitioners
Every session of Farnborough Forest School is run by a leader who holds the Level 3 Forest School Leader qualification.
Our leaders take part in regular CPD opportunities, and through attending local network meetings and connecting with other local FS leaders, keep abreast of new research and share good practice and ideas.
Our leaders hold valid pediatric and Forest School first aid qualifications, as well as food hygiene certification.