Plumcroft is lucky to have some amazing natural resources in the local community. With the help of Wide Horizons, all Plumcroft children get to experience Forest School for at least part of the school year.
The aims of Forest School at Plumcroft are:
- to improve well-being by reconnecting children with their natural world,
- to give children a sense of ownership over their local green space, and encourage a life-long habit of exercise and enjoyment in the outdoors,
- to broaden their knowledge and understanding of the world around them,
- to provide rich and meaningful opportunities for communication, language use and collaboration with other children and with adults.
Skills we practise at Forest School include:
- creativity – planning, making, adjusting, collaborating, explaining etc, are happening all the time as children freely use the resources of the natural world along with resources from school,
- mindfulness – listening to the world around us, being aware of all our senses, being aware of how we are feeling,
- fine motor skills – tying knots, whittling sticks, use apparatus for collecting, digging, etc,
- scientific enquiry – observing using magnifying glasses, looking for minibeasts, being aware of seasonal changes and the variety of life in the local environment,
- reading for meaning – the Forest School library allows children to find out about that creature they have just found, or allows children to enjoy reading about nature whilst sitting amongst the leaves.
Impact of Forest School for pupil premium children:
In recent teacher observations it was found that over half of the pupil premium children exhibited heightened levels of:
- language use
In one case, a child who was never observed speaking in class was chatty and communicative at Forest School. This then continued back in the classroom so that now she is talking with both adults and other children.
Another child was observed at Forest School. She has a speech and language disorder, and in the classroom flitted from one activity to the next without settling to anything. At Forest School she concentrated on one activity for an extended period and was very excited about what she was doing. This lead to her seeking out several familiar adults in order to show them what she was doing and discuss with them.
During other observations, teachers reported their pupil premium children being more chatty and making more attempts to interact with others and to share.
Here is a compilation of some photos and videos taken of our Forest School experiences last year.