Welcome to our new Forest Schools area!
Here you will find out all about out outdoor learning opportunities. At Diamond Wood we are passionate about using the outdoors to encourage our children to talk more about their experiences and develop their speech and language.
‘Forest School’ is an extremely important part of our curriculum and plays a key part with regard to the spiritual, social, emotional and personal development of our children.
Forest School is something we have wanted to set up for many years but did not have the opportunity or funds to do so. However, through fundraising and adding it to our school development plan, we have now been able to start creating the space and opportunities we have been aiming for.
Our ethos of Forest School is based on respect for our children to investigate and demonstrate curiosity in the world around them. We believe in children's right to play; to access the outdoors (and in particular a woodland environment); and the right to experience a healthy range of emotions, through social interaction and build a resilience that will enable continued creativity with their peers and their potential.
Forest School offers learning experiences for our children that go beyond the factual; excitement, fascination, joy, awe and wonder, beauty, revelation, inspiration and inquisitiveness of the world we live in. It encourages them to develop a deep awareness and appreciation of all things, a respect for themselves and a respect for others.
Our forest school programme is run throughout the year with all classes experiencing outdoor sessions on a regular fortnightly basis for either a morning or afternoon.
The areas of benefit identified by a number of studies reflect the outcomes which are associated with Forest School:
- Self Esteem – We aim to raise the children’s self-esteem by providing challenging but achievable tasks with the focus being on the process rather than the product. Working in the outdoors has a more physical aspect, which is the preferred learning style of kinaesthetic learners, something that is not always available when working indoors. Some activities also develop children’s Thinking Skills, as part of our whole school approach.
- Interpersonal Skills – The activities that take place in the outdoor classroom have a focus on team-work, be it whole class, small group or paired work. The pupils work with children outside of their regular friendship groups to encourage understanding and acceptance of all class members and preparation for life beyond school – (links to Every Child Matters)
- Intrapersonal Skills – At the end of each outdoor session the children take part in a “Reflect and Review” activity to encourage them to think about their thoughts and feelings about the session. The children who found activities a challenge will be encouraged to talk about how it made them feel when they eventually succeeded. These discussions will be taken further based on how to transfer the feelings to an “in class” situation when they feel work is too hard, to encourage them to “have a go”- (links to S.E.A.L.)
- Health – We feel that our children benefit well from working outdoors in the fresh air and this supports them in developing their physical needs as well as their academic needs.
- Academic achievement - All the activities that take place in the Outdoor Classroom can be linked to the National Curriculum and it is hoped that with its multi-sensory approach, children will enjoy and learn from the work done outdoors.
- Language development - 98% of our pupils speak English as an additional language. Through high quality learning experiences in the forest we aim for children’s language development to improve. Children will develop strong social skills and all pupils will build upon their life skills. We want children to feel challenged yet safe when taking risks. Pupils will have the opportunities to continue learning through play.