Fox Grove School is fortunate to have a large area of the site dedicated to Forest School.
The site has been landscaped by the building company to include 2 separate areas; allowing 2 classes to always access this valuable resource for learning provision across the week.
Initial use of the site will be in line with the Forest School Association ethos of regular, long term access by pupils for extended periods of time. This allows pupils to connect with the natural environment, taking ownership of care and development of the natural habitat for the flora and fauna to thrive in the best type of playground in the world – ever changing and full of interesting details and knowledge to be discovered.
Staff are fully trained by the Forest School Lead (Level 3 FSA accreditation) to lead camp fires and teach tool use safely; involving the pupils in the skills of survival and the beneficial group dynamics that all pupils can access by enjoying the camp fire cooking and making hot drinks for all!
Pupils following a person led approach will naturally create activities at a level where they are interested and able to focus calmly. The Forest School setting provides inspiration which travels them out of their comfort zone into the interesting and exploratory ‘stretch’ zone.
Operating within this ‘Stretch’ zone is the ideal mindset for learning new skills due to the level of engagement in the self-chosen task. This is when pupils are fully absorbed in the ‘flow’ of their activities and are often reluctant to stop! Task presented that could require too high a skill set can push pupils beyond the ideal learning zone into the ‘panic’ zone. This is where we see pupils disengaging and employing avoidance tactics.
Pupils will be working towards their social interaction and communication targets alongside developing their play skills in the natural setting which has proven long term benefits for cognition and learning skills which can transfer to improve performance in classrooms. Please see our Forest School Skills Progression document. Fine motor skills will be developed by the introduction of a progressive skills plan for tool use and fires. The benefit of Forest School’s on mental health and emotional regulation are well documented and evidenced by our pupils’ responses within this beautiful outdoor natural setting. The sounds, freedom of space and visual stimulation of moving leaves in the fresh air are conducive to calming and regulating all pupils.
Outdoor learning for National Curriculum subjects is acknowledged within the schemes of work where the forest school setting is ideal for content learning such as insect’s topic in Science or field work in Geography.