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Forest School

Forest School is a firm favourite with the boys in Lower School because it is always enormous fun; rain or shine! We truly believe it is incredibly beneficial to them in every aspect of their individual development. They all love the excitement of learning about nature through play in a woodland environment, and every child deserves to do so.

When they are ready, the boys begin to learn skills in tools, knots and fire. Food Technology and Design Technology are a huge part of Forest School learning. Tool skills and learning how to build a fire, then to cook on it, before extinguishing it safely, are part of the learning journey. Physical development is also a key area, with the boys learning to negotiate uneven terrain in dry, icy, wet and muddy weather. Boys learn more easily through movement and visual experience - the more interactive and participative the better.

Rain or shine (there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing) the boys spend about two hours per week on Austenwood Common, the woods adjacent to the field at Lower School, fondly known as ‘Badgers’ Rest’ and ‘The Enchanted Forest’, where sessions are led by Mrs Doran, our Forest School practitioner. Mrs Doran is also Head of Lower School; guiding the boys at Forest School enables her to have total insight into their holistic wellbeing. It allows the richest care possible for the Lower School boys, since Mrs Doran tracks their academic development closely and guides their individual pastoral care.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of Forest School education, its purpose is to nurture the child holistically; to give the child the opportunity to take risks in the natural environment; to learn about flora and fauna; to connect with the changing seasons; to explore learning in teams and as an individual; to learn skills in the great outdoors; to be creative and imaginative and, most of all, to reflect and grow from their learning experiences.

Being outside in the forest environment also benefits the boys’ mental well-bring; it seems impossible to feel any pressure or stress amidst such natural beauty. The little altercations which are so normal in the playground aren’t evidenced here; instead language and communication thrive and the children learn to negotiate and to respect each other’s points of view, have fun and be adventurous, while keeping themselves and their friends safe.

The benefits of Forest School are seemingly endless: quieter boys are more naturally talkative, brimming with ideas and opinions that must be shared. Physical development sees huge benefits, as boys climb trees, negotiate steep clay pits, walk along fallen tree trunks and generally build up their fitness levels in the fresh air.

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