Over the next few weeks, Reception will be returning to the local woodlands as part of our Forest School programme. The forest is an extension of our school environment and we consider it to be a wonderful outdoor classroom. We use this context to learn about nature and our local environment, identifying different species of trees, learning about mini beasts and observing seasonal change. Each visit we make helps the children to find their place in the world and learn more about the features of their classroom in the forest. We use storytelling and imaginative play to help our students become excited about learning in the outdoors and improve their own storytelling skills, both oral and written. Throughout the term, the children will be meeting the ´little people´; imagined friendly folk living in the forest. They will discover that the troll has accidentally knocked down their homes and being the kind, well-mannered and responsible citizens that they are at Oak House, the children will offer their assistance and expertise in building new homes for their Forest friends. All this creative thinking enables the children to learn about animal habitats, scavenge for natural materials, problem solve and learn collaboratively to build a free standing structure.
What's more, the Japanese practice of forest bathing is scientifically proven to be good for you. With this week being our focus week on Mental Health it seems more important than ever to underline how our Forest School trips also increase our pupils' well-being. In fact, being in nature can relieve stress levels and has even been recommended as part of the treatment of attention disorders in children.
So, Reception are off to the forest to pick up a rock, put a problem in it and leave it behind them. Peace at last.