FOREST SCHOOL MOMENTS
I observed a group of pre-school children at Outwoods wood. It was the first visit to the woodland area. I asked the children to find a tree for them to find every time they visited for a place for them to sit and relax. I asked one child why they picked that tree, the child responded “look at these leaves, they are massive. I can use them as a hat when it rains.”
Two weeks later, the child found the tree in the previous session and gathered some sticks, I asked what he was doing, the child responded “I am making a shelter here so my friends can sit with me and not get wet.” All children came and helped the child build the shelter so they could sit under whilst it was raining.
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!