Forest School is an approach to education that embraces the outdoors as a learning environment.
It is about children experiencing regular, weekly sessions to develop their forest skills. Each year group will have the chance to part in a series of Forest School lessons at our site at the Cumberland Arena. During lessons pupils will build self-confidence, become more independent, learn new skills, work as part of a team and improve their communication skills. All sessions are outdoor and therefore pupils need to be dressed appropriately for the weather. Pupils may take part in activities such as fire-lighting, cooking on an open fire, natural artwork, nightline, den building, toolwork, team-building activities and construction using different types of knots.
Children follow the usual curriculum but in an outdoor context, using learning and teaching strategies which raise self-esteem, develop confidence, independence and language and communication skills.
At Forest School children learn to assess and manage risks and develop lifelong learning skills. Forest School has physical, social and health benefits; helping young people to enjoy physical activity outdoors in increasingly sedentary lives.
At Brierley School we are very fortunate to have a dedicated PE and Forest School leader – Mr Foulkes.
Our Forest Schools programme was introduced in 2013/14 and has seen classes undertake 5/6 lessons in a term, culminating in a day trip to the forest. Lessons build on the OAA programme and prepares them for their day trip, with skills such as team building, problem solving, orienteering and den building all taught at school.
Pupils have shown increased confidence, improved behaviour and gained leadership skills as a result of the programme, whilst gaining fantastic experiences in the forest.
Forest School takes place in all weathers and all seasons. Children and adults must be dressed appropriately as ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!’