In autumn 2014 we took our pre-school children to the local wooodland at Polmorla. 10 acre wood has a purpose build Forest School run by a qualified primary school teacher who is also a Forest School leader. FOREST SCHOOLS is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning in a woodland environment. The philosophy of Forest Schools is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences over an extended period of time.
The children had an absolutely fabulous time and engaged in activities such as warming crumpets and marshmellows over an open fire, playing in muddy puddles and using the mud to make pies and cakes decorated with leaves, berries and twigs – then washing up in the river. The children fed chickens, played hide & seek, made twig people and Christmas decorations with pine cones. They made patterns with the falling autumn leaves, climbed the woodland bank using a rope to pull themselves up and enjoyed sliding back down again. They grew in confidence over the weeks and even the most timid of children eventually walked independently across the river on a little wooden bridge and warmed their hands on the open fire.
The children and staff really enjoyed the experience of Forest School and we have done our best to recreate some of the ideas in our own garden, transforming the space to create a more natural outdoor environment. The children can get a realistic experience of playing outdoors and can enjoy a return to more traditional style of playing such as tree climbing, den building and really enjoying the differences that an outdoor environment can provide with the changing seasons. Our garden includes a mud kitchen, some natural sorting resources-stones, shells, twigs and corks, we have some water channelling tubes and toys, a construction site and 2 den making areas including one with a covered roof and a wigwam style den. We have kept plenty of space for children to run around, ride tricycles, climb , balance and play traditional ring games. We also have a climbing wall so that children can develop their upper body strength. We have resource packs full of activities for the children to use such as identifying mini-creatures or ‘writing’ their own mud pie recipes. We have a sandpit large enough to sit in and have planted some primroses inside wellington boots to help the children uderstanding about growing and caring for living things.