'A Forest School is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning.' The philosophy of Forest Schools is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences.
We devise our own Forest Explorer program using the outdoors and playing in nature as a means to build independence and self-esteem in children. Magdalen Court School are members of the Institute for Outdoor Learning. https://www.outdoor-learning.org
In simple terms it’s taking the children out in all seasons and weathers. Two generations ago it would have seemed silly, but the modern child spends less than 1hr a week in the natural environment. Scientific studies have shown this is having detrimental effects on children’s development and therefore this is something we value giving our pupils.
Forest Explore is aimed at the primary age pupils, but we also use the resource at a more advanced level with our older children.
It gives the children:
The experiences are 'child led' and concentrate on holistic development, with particular emphasis on the social and emotional aspects of learning.
Some of the activities we do in our forest school sessions are:
We are now extremely grateful to have our own dedicated year round site on Haldon, just below Belvedere Tower - a short minibus trip away. It's re-wilded farmland of Helen Ticehurst and has woods, a stream and plenty of wildlife. This has allowed us to build a temporary shelter and already the children have been foraging, cooking and experiencing how the glorious, changing seasons affect one piece of land. We will be using this site for some exciting bushcraft activities.