FOREST SCHOOL MOMENTS
In forest school we follow the children's lead and provide amazing activities that support and expand the children's holistic development. We focus on the whole child and follow the forest school ethos. Within forest school we provide unique experiences that the children thoroughly enjoy such as barefoot sensory walks through woodlands, blindfolded rope guided walks to expand our senses and physical development, foraging and using our foraged finds for our campfire cooking – we especially enjoy searching for wild garlic and using it to make wild garlic bread or wild garlic pesto pasta. For our wind down time we enjoy lying on the forest floor and looking up to the sky above, this is called forest bathing! We lie and listen to the woodland sounds by relaxing and being at one with the earth.
Watermead Day Nursery Forest School
Forest school was developed in Scandinavia and offers a holistic approach to learning which helps to foster resilient, confident, independent and creative children.
Watermead Day Nursery is very proud of its forest School Facilities, developed over the past few years, which aim to offer all the children in its care regular opportunities to interact with the natural environment, helping them to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem, explore, discover and overcome challenge through hands on outdoor learning experiences.
The unique location of Watermead Day Nursery and Brook Farm House Pre-School Nanpantan means that both through our dedicated, specialised facilities and the close by Outwoods children can be inspired, amongst other things, to climb trees, tell stories, make trails, build dens and hunt for mini-beasts. Just the other day, the children set a Gruffalo trap with careful planning and construction. However, the elusive beast didn’t show his face all day, but he could be heard moving through the undergrowth nearby!
All the activities are designed to encourage the children through inspirational experiences to develop a strong, positive relationship with the natural environment, handle risks, use their own initiative to identify and solve problems, and to build relationships through cooperation and team work. The children are actively encouraged to come up with ideas, and carry them out with staff assistance.
All sessions follow a learner centred approach, and are filled with challenges, discovery and difference but also follow a common set of principles to ensure the experience has both cumulative and lasting benefits.
Part of the Forest School facility at Watermead Day Nursery is dedicated to an edible garden where the children can plant and nurture vegetables and other plants, watching them grow through their own actions and care.
It is truly gratifying to see the young children at Watermead, who by following a process of planting and cultivating their own seeds, can learn one of the life skills often over looked in other settings. They can experience the satisfaction and responsibility of caring for something from seedling to fully grown plant and build an awareness of the environment whilst grasping an early understanding of the circle of life. What’s more they can often help cook and eat the fruits of their labour. This has proven to be one of the great ways to help encourage healthy eating as well as introduce those ‘don’t like’ vegetables to the dinner table.
The facility has a green house, raised beds and ‘serious’ tools to help emphasise the serious work the children are performing whilst caring for their patch. Such is their commitment that recently they undertook a scarecrow building project to help protect the all-important crops!