Dover College, Effingham Crescent, Dover, Kent, United Kingdom, CT17 9RH
From the Early Years Foundation Stage upwards, pupils take part in weekly lessons outdoors.
Although Forest School may be a relatively new idea to some parents, we have been running outdoor lessons for many years. Pupils spend time in the College’s Discovery Garden or elsewhere on the campus, learning about the environment in a practical way. From discovering the different types of trees and plants to creating mud pies and using tools to sculpt items out of natural materials, there is plenty for pupils to try.
Forest School Leader, Clare Caskie, greatly enjoys teaching the pupils:
“Forest School is all about getting closer to nature and learning about the great outdoors and the environment. It is based on a Scandinavian way of learning outside. We have implemented outdoor learning in our Discovery Garden, which has been developed over the last eight years. Each week we run a session which involves problem-solving, getting creative and making sculptures and crafts. At the end of the session, we sometimes create a big fire and toast marshmallows and make hot chocolate and talk about what we learned.”
During their outdoor learning, pupils engage in a variety of activities. No two lessons are the same. For example:
Clare sees that Forest School encourages pupils to learn to share and work as a team:
“The great thing about Forest School is that there is never any conflict, not even with the younger ones running about. The pupils are actually a lot calmer and more responsive to risk-taking. They can explore their limits by using wooden palettes to climb, or can make a rope bridge or ladder. One pupil even thanked me for helping her conquer her fear of heights! We always encourage problem-solving and seeing how they tackle something new and create something from scratch.”