Woodland Adventures and outdoor learning
Our forest environment is a fantastic opportunity for our children to experience learning outside of the classroom.
Our woodland adventures are a child-centred inspirational learning process, that offers opportunities for holistic growth through regular sessions. It is a long-term program that supports play, exploration and supported risk taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting. We use a local forest a short stroll from the school. Children go for two half term sessions every year so that they can experience different seasons.
Woodland adventures has a developmental ethos shared by thousands of trained forest school practitioners around the world, who are constantly developing their learning styles and skills to support new and imaginative learners. Its roots reach back to the open-air culture, friluftsliv, or free air life, seen as a way of life in Scandinavia where Forest School began. It arrived in the UK in 1993 and has grown from strength to strength since then. We continue to follow a forest school pedagogy within our setting.
The process helps and facilitates more than knowledge-gathering, it helps learners develop socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually. It creates a safe, non-judgemental nurturing environment for learners to try stuff out and take risks. Woodland adventures inspire a deep and meaningful connection to the world and an understanding of how a learner fits within it. Our approach to risk means that learners constantly expand on their abilities by solving real-world issues, building self-belief and resilience. We believe that risk is more than just potential for physical harm, but a more holistic thing, there are risks in everything we do, and we grow by overcoming them. Forest School therefore, helps participants to become, healthy, resilient, creative and independent learners.
Every class also has a session each half term in the school grounds, exploring the outdoor life that is in the grounds. This helps our children to develop a real sense of belonging and understanding of life outside the classroom.
Each half term, we also go on a local walk. For our youngest children this is local to the school, exploring the local geography and wildlife. As the children get older, we venture further afield and link their work with the John Muir Award through adventures such as hiking to the top of Blackdown and exploring the River Wye.
There is lots of research out there to support the outcomes of outdoor learning, but we know that it isn’t just the educational outcomes and research that matter, our learners and leaders love it too!