Sport, Leisure and Culture
Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Wednesday, June 20 2012
A Parents Guide to Forest School
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So what is Forest School all about?
It is a chance for your child to experience nature and the
outdoor environment in a safe and secure but hands-on way. It gives
them the chance to relax and develop confidence whilst allowing
carefully managed risks. They learn many practical skills
but, more importantly, they also learn social skills, team-working
and responsible risk taking. All this is done sneakily while they
are having fun and getting mucky. So don't dress them in their best
By coming back every week for regular and repeated participation
in planned programmes they are able to build on previous
achievements and skills. Each activity is built up through small
achievable tasks building their confidence as they progress.
Itchen Valley Country Park is 440 acres of woods and meadows but
we have carefully fenced off an area in the woodland that is safe
for the children but not too far from the Visitor Centre should
they need toilets or assistance.
Each session is led by a Level 3 Forest School Practitioner
called Barbara although some sessions may be taken by Kim, the
Project Manager who is also Level 3 trained. There will be CRB
checked volunteers as well as staff from the children's
schools/groups. This higher than average staff to pupil ratio
allows us to organise more challenging activities. Most children
will learn how to build and light a fire during their sessions and
they will also be given the opportunity to cook on it - anything
from sausages and damper bread to soup and curry!
The outdoor location encourages them to learn about nature and
the environment and helps them to understand sustainability.
We have been able to set this facility up for 2 years thanks to
a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. As part of the bid it was
agreed that we should allow every child to sample at least one
countryside craft to help make them aware of their past. These
crafts will include green woodworking, willow weaving, working with
natural dyes, falconry and hurdle making.
Our Woodland Classroom in the snow 2010!