Forest School Principles

Our ethos has six principles, which are the same as the ones agreed by the UK Forest School community in 2011.  

The six guiding principles of Forest School follow below. Good practice.

Principle 1:

Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.

• Forest School takes place regularly, ideally at least every other week, with the same group of learners, over an extended period, if practicable encompassing the seasons.

• A Forest School program has a structured on the observations and collaborative work between learners and practitioners. This structure should demonstrate the progression of learning.

• The initial sessions of any program establish physical and behavioral boundaries as well as making initial observations on which to base future program development.

 

Principle 2:

Forest School takes place in our woodland environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.

• The woodland is ideally suited to match the needs of the program and the learners, providing them with space and environment in which to explore and discover.

• A Forest School program continually monitors its ecological impact and works within a sustainable site management plan agreed between the landowner/ manager, us (practitioner) and the learners.

• We aims to foster a relationship with nature through regular personal experiences to develop long-term, environmentally sustainable attitudes and practices in staff, learners and the broader community.

• We uses natural resources for inspiration, to enable ideas and to encourage intrinsic motivation.

 Principle 3:

Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners

• Where appropriate, the leader will seek to link experiences at Forest School to home, work and school education

• Programmes aim to develop, where necessary, the physical, social, cognitive, linguistic, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of the learner. 

Principle 4:

We offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and themselves.

• Forest School opportunities are designed to build on an individual’s intrinsic motivation, positive attitudes and interests.

• We uses tools and fires only where deemed appropriate to the learners, and dependent on completion of a baseline risk assessment.

• Any Forest School experience follows a Risk-Benefit process managed jointly by the practitioner and learner. Each lesson is tailored to the developmental stage of the learner.

Principle 5.

•  Our Forest School is led by qualified Forest School practitioners, who are required to hold a minimum of an accredited Level 3 Forest School qualification. 

• Practitioners and adults regularly helping at sessions are subject to relevant checks into their suitability to have prolonged contact with children, young people and vulnerable people.

• Practitioners need to hold an up-to-date first aid qualification, which includes paediatric (if appropriate) and outdoor elements.

• We maintains a safe working environment. We have clear policies and procedures in place that establish the roles and responsibilities of staff and volunteers.

• The Forest School leader is a reflective practitioner and sees themselves, therefore, as a learner too. 

Principle 6.

We uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning

• A learner-centred pedagogical approach is employed by Forest School that is responsive to the needs and interests of learners.

• The Practitioner models the pedagogy, which they promote during their programmes through careful planning, appropriate dialogue and relationship building.

• Play and choice are an integral part of the children’s learning process. We believe that ‘play’ is vital to learning and development at Forest School.

• Forest School provides a stimulus for all learning preferences and dispositions.

• Reflective practice is a feature of each session to ensure learners and practitioners can understand their achievements, develop emotional intelligence and plan for the future.

• Practitioner observation is an important element of Forest School pedagogy. Observations feed into ‘scaffolding’ and tailoring experiences to learning and development at Forest School.

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