Forest School & Outdoor Learning at Beaufront
Forest School & Outdoor Learning at Beaufront - Our Ethos
At Beaufront we have long been supporters and advocates of spending as much time as possible outdoors. We see huge benefits for all children in being surrounded by nature, in spending time in the natural light, and breathing in the wonderful, fresh Northumbrian air.
Research has shown that children who are able to access outdoor learning and spend more time outdoors are more confident and resilient, and enjoy better mental and physical health than those children who do not access the outdoors on a regular basis. (https://ltl.org.uk/news/5-key-benefits-of-outdoor-learning)
In the Early Years, we are proud to offer a Forest School session every Monday. We would like to extend this offer to other year groups as we develop and enhance our provision with the development of the Forest School site and the resources and tools available.
The main aims of Forest School are to:
* promote holistic development
* foster resilience and confidence
* support a 'growth mindset'
* develop creativity and independence
* offer the opportunity to take measured and supported risks
* develop positive relationships with themselves, others, and their environment
* promote teamwork
* offer the opportunity to solve problems in different ways
* develop respect for the natural world and the local environment
In order to facilitate meaningful learning and positive experiences from the very start, the children are taught to follow some basic rules and know that there are high expectations for behaviour so that everyone can safely enjoy Forest School. They also learn how to dress appropriately for the weather and how to interact with their environment in all weather!
The main aims of outdoor learning are largely similar to those of Forest School but more generally are to:
* boost children's confidence and self-esteem
* promote positive social and communication skills
* support the development of good physical skills
* motivate children
* develop a positive relationship with the natural world
* develop a positive attitude to challenges, including change
* support knowledge and understanding of the world around us
At Beaufront we recognise that there are challenges to spending time outdoors and we encourage the children to dress appropriately for the weather, to interact with the environment sensibly and take measured risks during inclement weather, for example, by encouraging walking when it is rainy or icy, or staying in the shade and wearing hats and suncream when it is hot and sunny.
However, we firmly believe that the benefits outweigh any risks and we are confident in the experience and knowledge of our staff to enable the children to enjoy outdoor education in many forms. This is supported by the EYFS Development Matters Framework and the National Curriculum as well as being a key feature of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Forest School at Beaufront
We have recently started a wonderful Forest School at Beaufront, currently taking place on Monday afternoons for the Early Years class. The sessions are led by Mrs. Bolam, who is very experienced in outdoor learning and Forest School teaching, and supported by Mrs. Boucetla and Miss Westgarth. They take place in our lovely woodland area and over the coming weeks and months we hope to enhance and develop the Forest School site and provision, so watch this space for further updates and information!