Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of all garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.’
Matthew 13 vs.31-32
Our entire curriculum, including Forest School, is underpinned by the ‘Parable of the Mustard Seed’ and summarised by our motto:
Together may we give our children: Roots to grow and Wings to fly.
At Trinity Academy Eppleby Forcett and Middleton Tyas, we aim to provide our pupils with opportunities to experience high quality and enjoyable outdoor learning across the curriculum. Outdoor learning and Forest School activities can be undertaken by all age groups of children within our schools and can contribute to National and the EYFS Curriculum. During Forest School sessions, as far as possible, we hope to remain true to the Forest School ethos; an approach which has the following key principles:
• Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a 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 in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
• Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
• Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
• Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
• Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.
Our Forest School session enable children to explore the world around them – getting ‘hands on’ with nature. Our outdoor learning activities support children to develop responsibility for themselves and others. As part of each session, we encourage early risk management strategies that will ensure that children start to consider the impact of their actions on themselves and on others. Play and choice are an integral part of the Forest School learning process, and play is recognised as vital to learning and development at Forest School. Observation of learners during Forest School sessions is vital for informing the planning of future sessions.
Opportunities for reflection are present in each session to ensure learners and practitioners can understand their achievements, develop emotional intelligence and plan for the future. In all outdoor learning sessions, all persons should be treated equally. We aim to, and are committed to, providing a secure environment in which all children can flourish and in which all contributions are valued. Where appropriate, lessons are adapted to ensure that they are inclusive and accessible to all pupils and gifted and talented children are challenged accordingly.
We recognise that children are individuals with different learning styles and preferences. Providing variety in learning settings and activities ensures all children have the opportunity to reach their potential. Most children enjoy spending time outside, exploring the natural world and developing their sense of awe and wonder. Outdoor learning provides memorable and lasting experiences for our children. Outdoor activity is known to have a positive impact on mental and physical wellbeing.
We also recognise the value of outdoor learning to develop personal skills that the children need for life within and beyond the classroom; communication, team work, problem solving, resilience and creativity. Our outdoor learning activities give our children opportunity to feel connected to the natural world around them and promote a sense of responsibility and care for our environment.