Forest School arrives in Kilmington, but what is it?
Since September all the children at Kilmington Primary School have had the opportunity to participate in regular Forest School sessions, within the village. All the children aged 3-11 will have a number of Forest School days, spaced through the school year and seasons. But what is Forest School and what do they do?
Forest school is not a new initiative. It originates from Scandinavia where in the 1950’s the value of child-led learning through play, in a more natural environment was recognised. It is a truly immersive outdoor experience, working on the theory that there is no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing choices, so outdoor sessions can occur all year round.
Skills and lessons learnt socially, physically, intellectually, emotionally and in communication, through Forest Schools are invaluable. It is a journey, not a single experience and this is a journey all children need to travel to ensure they are not starved from nature due to the pressures and technical advances of modern life.
Having the sessions in the village has enabled the whole school to access this provision and for it to be year round. The short walk to the site has reduced the environmental impact. Forest School sessions promote physical activity and the walk there and back is an added bonus!
A typical day at Forest School will include team challenges, games, singing, problem solving, the sharing of ideas and discoveries, crafts using the natural resources available, den-building, lots of physical activity, learning to use tools safely or safe fire use, maybe cooking, definitely mud, bug hunts and thinking about the environment around them and conservation. It is not just school in a Forest, but it is an opportunity for the children to learn a lot about themselves and deepen their appreciation for the natural environment and understanding of all the ways in which it can be enjoyed.