The Great Outdoors

The Woods & Forest School

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks" (John Muir)

  • pre-school children toasting marchmallows on forest school
  • pre-school child minibeast hunting on forest school
  • forest school shelter
  • pre-school children exploring in a small stream
  • child playing on tyre swing
  • babies and toddlers on walk in woods

The Woods

Boothby Great Wood is situated the other side of the farmyard at Great Wood Farm, it is owned by the Forestry Commisson and we have an agreement in place for our own Forest School base camp within the woods. Public access to the woods is from a footpath from Boothby Pagnell, which minimises the amount of people who access the woods, making it a safe environment for the children to explore. All children at GWF access the woods regularly, from the Bumblebees up to Rangers, embedding the Forest School ethos across the EYC. Bumblebees take the non mobile babies in pushchairs, stimulating them with smells, sights and the sounds of nature. The children benefit with the close interaction with observing the changing seasons and playing in natural and wild environments which stimulates their senses and forges connections with nature.

Forest School

In February 2009 we set up a Forest School with our Kindergarten and Rangers Rooms and this incorporates the opportunity for your child to attend Forest School regularly. Every child in Younger Kindergarten is timetabled to go in a small group every other week, and in Older Kindergarten every child goes weekly. The Forest School approach to learning focuses on a holistic approach with active learning styles covering all areas of development, in a child led approach. Practitioners use teaching strategies which support children to take calculated risks. This results in children developing their self-esteem, confidence, independence and language and communication skills in a natural environment. Our Forest School works with children being introduced to responsible risk-taking, and setting participants up to achieve. The activities cover all seven Areas of Learning and Development and include exploration and appreciation of nature, using tools and cooking on a fire. We even stay for lunch in the summer term! Our Forest School provides a unique and stimulating environment which captivates children’s interest and results in deep level learning taking place.

Ofsted commented in our latest report "Children benefit from excellent, hands-on learning experiences as they explore the Forest school area. They hunt for snails, spiders and bugs. As a result, they demonstrate an exceptionally good understanding of the natural world and growth and development. They learn how to light fires and be safe around them."

More information can be found about Forest School at the following link http://www.earlyyearscareers.com/eyc/early-years-practice/why-forest-school-can-help-childrens-development/