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Forest School & Learning Outside the Classroom

                                                                            

“Let Nature be your teacher.”

William Wordsworth

 

Learning outside the classroom is strongly encouraged at Maltby Redwood Academy. Each class is encouraged to learn outdoors as much as possible and it is a curriculum expectation that sits within our value of Opportunity. We have a dedicated wildlife area, extensive school grounds and a forest school. We believe access to the outdoors is a right of all children, and one we are passionate about encouraging. 

The ethos of our Forest School is based on a respect for children and their capacity to initiative, investigate and build curiosity in the world around them. It believes in a child's right to play; the right to access the outdoors (and in particular a woodland environment); the right to experience risk in a controlled way in the natural world along with the right to develop their emotional intelligence through social interaction, building a resilience to enable creative engagement with their peers and their potential.   

Forest School is an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in natural environment with trees. Children who struggle learning indoors are often enabled to develop new ways of learning and coping with the world. The opportunity to succeed in an alternative environment makes Forest School a great place for children of all ages showing challenging behaviour to have a “second chance” in a new environment.  

Forest School is based on the process of learning - more on the 'how' than the 'what'. Forest School practice embraces collaborative unplanned, unexpected and ultimately unlimited learning. Children are encouraged to direct their own learning inspired by the Forest School leader either through stimulating play in the outdoors or through 'scaffolding' a child's learning, but mostly through simply observing how children are in the outdoors. The most important thing is to encourage the natural curiosity present in children and to enable them to open their eyes and experience the wonders of the world around them.  

At Maltby Redwood Academy, we have our own woodland environment which is central in supporting this approach to learning: the changing of the seasons; the dynamic nature of an outdoor environment - an infinite source of smells, textures, sounds and tastes and a range of visual stimuli. 

We encourage children to:  

  • Develop personal and social skills  
  • Take part in seasonal activities involving an element of managed risk 
  • Work through practical problems and challenges  
  • Use tools to create, build or manage  
  • Discover how they learn best  
  • Pursue knowledge that interests them  
  • Learn how to manage failures  
  • Build confidence in decision making and evaluating risk  
  • Develop practical skills  
  • Understand the benefits of a balanced and healthy lifestyle  
  • Explore connections between humans, wildlife and the earth  
  • Regularly experience achievement and success  
  • Reflect on learning and experiences  
  • Develop their language and communication skills  
  • Improve physical motor skills  
  • Become more motivated  
  • Improve their concentration skills