Earlier this week, our Level 2 and 3 Early Years students took part in learning about Forest School, and participated in activities to develop their understanding.
Forest Schools are natural learning environments where children are free to explore nature and play. They take place in woodlands or a wooded, natural environment like a park or a specially designed area. Children have the opportunity to safely explore nature, as well as challenge themselves and problem solve. It follows a holistic, learner-centred approach by encouraging children to think about their actions, how things work, and how they are connected.
Forest Schools have been present in the UK since the 1990s, as they offer an alternative approach to the structured academic model. Even before then, there has been a long history of open-air learning, especially in Scandinavian countries.
There are many benefits to children’s wellbeing through attending Forest School, such as helping them develop their physical, intellectual, language, emotional and social skills.
As part of the session at Folkestone College, our students reused and repurposed many natural materials which might have otherwise gone to waste, such as wood cut-offs, twigs, leaves, pinecones, and many more.
From these materials, our students made sensory bags, dreamcatchers, keyrings, coasters, jam jar candle holders, and even Christmas decorations!
The purpose of this session was for them to get hands-on, practical experience of what it would be like to attend a Forest School, and to inspire them when creating their own activities to run with children once they are working within the Early Years sector.
The students really enjoyed exploring the natural materials and objects and made many amazing creations. They were creative and explored what they could make with all the different things. This links to their learning about the importance of sensory play and investigation in supporting children’s learning and development.
Not only this, but by learning how to repurpose materials, it contributes towards the college’s Sustainability Pledge, which promotes the use of recycling rather than throwing unwanted items away. Our students can then inspire children to do the same and develop a love of nature, building towards a sustainable future.