“Once you get outside, something happens that feels good and does good.”
(Learning With Nature)
For the past number of years, the children in First and Fifth classes have had the fantastic opportunity to explore the woods near our school as they participate in Forest School with Múinteoir Hayley.
So, What is Forest School?
Forest School is really just about getting outside, understanding how to appreciate nature, while gaining respect for nature and the wonderful things it can do for us. It is an exciting process that provides learners with the opportunity to get outdoors, connect with their senses and with nature while having serious fun in the process. The outdoors provides a very rich environment to learn in.
Forest school is a person-centred process, which can build on a person’s confidence and self-esteem as they take safe but exciting risks, and initiate their own learning. The relaxed environment of Forest School, allows people to regularly experience achievement and success at their own comfortable pace.
Developing a connection to nature is something that needs to be encouraged as lives and minds appear busier than they ever were. Being ‘in nature’ benefits children of any age. Some benefits include feeling more relaxed and happy by just being outside, developing practical skills, reflecting, using common sense, building stronger social and communication skills and developing a confidence in their own abilities. In every walk with nature you receive far more than you seek.
How will the children benefit?
Lots of research can be found on the benefits of being outside/ attending Forest School, some benefits are outlined below:
- Gain knowledge about wild plants, flowers, trees and animals
- Build knowledge of the local natural environment
- Appreciate the natural world and its conservation
- Develop personal and practical skills
- Develop language, communication and social skills
- Improve physical motor skills
- Discover how they learn best
- Explore connections between humans, wildlife, earth and themselves
- Use tools to create, build or manage
- Work through practical problems and challenges
- Build confidence in decision making and evaluating risk
- Have fun!
What will they learn and how does it relate to the curriculum?
English: Poems, songs, rhymes, new language, folklore, discussions
Gaeilge: Ag úsáid Gaeilge, amhráin, cluichí Gaeilge, ainmneacha
Maths: Maths eyes, number practise-natural materials, patterns, measures
S.P.H.E.: Connection with the senses, circle work, trust games, group-work
P.E.: Obstacles, navigation, scavenger hunts, nature dance, motor skill development
Religion: Reflection, connection to nature, meditation
History: Past/present forest uses, changes in the forest, historical names
Geography: Observation of the environment, tracking, map reading/making
Science: Materials and change, plant and animal species, life cycles, seasons
Drama: Getting into role as creatures/animals, imaginative play, scenarios
Music: Nature songs, making music with forest materials, natural sounds
Art: Art in nature, mandala, collage, mud/clay sculpting, water painting, natural prints
The possibilities are endless! :)