Forest School and Outdoor Learning

Forest School and Outdoor learning has many benefits for our children. The children are able to explore natural environments at their own pace with adults taking a back seat approach, allowing the children to lead the way in their own learning. We offer this approach at The Redway.

Here at The Redway we have a unique, child centred approach to learning in and about the natural world. The children from all key stages, are encouraged to use all of their senses and work alongside their peers to have the opportunity to take part in new and unfamiliar activities, which can be done on site or out in the community or woodlands near by. The classroom and the outdoors are intrinsically linked as the have the ability to allow our children to put their hands on what they want to learn.

EYFS: Learning through play and exploration in the outdoors by feeling different textures, temperatures and finding new and interesting things to touch. Also, finding confidence in trying new things and enjoying being as independent as possible in the fresh air.  Sensory exploration continues to be an important part of the Forest School curriculum throughout all the Key Stages.

Primary Key Stage 1 and 2: Pupils are introduced to a wider range of activities, such as making fire, cooking, and discovering how plants grown and form. In addition, students will be learning to use a variety of different tools, for example, making shelters, Kelly kettles, cooking in a Dutch oven, planting seedlings and identifying different trees and plants therefore extending their knowledge and experience in this outdoors.

Secondary Key Stage 3: We continue to build on the skills and activities taught in Primary so that our children have the opportunity to maintain or cement their skills and experiences.

Transitions Key Stage 4 and 5: Students complete many nature walks where they collect and are creative with different items found. Students work on their team building skills in outdoor settings and push their personal boundaries further with more difficult scenarios or activities such as obstacle courses or exploring messy textures.

The children have shown such confidence and enjoyment through these activities with many of them surprising us by taking risks and leading other children to participate in group work. Communication is also a huge priority in these sessions as it helps to create spontaneous communication between peers or between children and adults as well as helping to encourage choice, requests and sequences of verbal communication. We have seen new friendships evolve as children are able to work alongside new peers. We are continuously developing our programme and are always keen to try new things, no matter the weather!

NB: the only bad weather is to do with bad clothing which is why we always wear the correct type of clothing for the weather; i.e for fun in the rain and cold, full waterproofs, warm layers, wellington boots or if the sun comes out, sun cream, light full cover clothing and a hat.

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