Benefits of a Forest School Nursery
Benefits of a Forest School Nursery
We speak to Tracy Paskins, owner and founder of The Woodland Nursery, a Forest School offering a unique outdoor experience
The Woodland Nursery Forest School offers a positive learning environment by providing the children with a stimulating and creative environment with clear boundaries. Learners are actively involved in their learning, children are involved in activities that require them to take responsibility for their learning and problem solve, encouraging children to collaborate through group tasks such as building a group shelter. This encourages social skills and interaction with others through games, songs and camp fire activities.
Group activities are encouraged while less confident children are helped to join in on discussions and group decisions, and lots of games are played that require children to work together. ‘We believe that the closer to nature children are, the happier they will be and therefore the more likely they are to learn.’ Tracy states.
Forest School also implements a holistic approach to child development. ‘This means that we look at the child as a whole and do not focus on individual parts. All of the following areas of Holistic learning and development are linked and can be seen in many of our activities:
SOCIAL We always encourage the children to ask each other for help and advice as opposed to seeking it from an adult. The children can often be seen deep in an imaginary game, which involves many children simultaneously, while also learning to negotiate with each other and wait their turn.
PHYSICAL The children are able to freely experiment with their bodies and can develop their fine and gross motor skills in new and challenging ways like using tweezers to pick up things or rolling big logs to stand on and balance.
INTELLECTUAL We have some incredible stories that are from the children themselves as they decide to make a house for a fairy or a boat for a pirate.
COMMUNICATION We always talk to the children about what they are doing and ask them questions about why they have decided to do something a particular way. Often we answer a question with a question, for example when asked about the length of a stick I would ask them what they think and if they don’t know, how do they think they can find out. We also encourage good listening skills and make sure that we always listen to what the children are telling us.
EMOTIONAL There’s lots of praise when a child achieves something. As the children explore the natural world, it is a unique way of building confidence, learning new life skills and promoting independence through hands on experiences.
SPIRITUAL Free to explore nature’s riches, a child’s senses are heightened which enhances their creative and imaginative play. Being outside allows a child to reconnect with nature and gain a practical understanding of the world around them. Forest School embraces the outdoors as an inspirational learning environment focused on the child’s learning needs rather than specific outcomes all of which supports the Early Years Foundation Stage in a big way. It’s all about child-centred, free play and mainly, just getting kids outdoors.’
The Woodland Nursery is an outdoor nursery for 2½ to 5 year olds based on the Forest School approach. They have a nursery located in Blackheath and a new location at Kidbrooke Park (due to open later in the year). For more information or to register your child please visit www.thewoodlandnursery.co.uk.
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