As part of our promise of “Education with Adventure” at Falcons Prep Richmond we are thrilled to offer regular Forest School sessions at Old Deer Park and the surrounding areas. Forest School has its roots in Scandinavia and has grown in popularity worldwide. It places importance on children leading their play in an outdoor environment where the development of the whole child is given priority. The ethos of Forest School values the importance of the processes of learning, rather than the product created. This concept links strongly to the five Falcons Learning Habits which we believe are vital for creating lifelong learners ready for the challenges of the 21st century.
As Falcons boys take part in Forest School sessions, they learn to value independence as they dress themselves in waterproofs and wellies and prepare to venture outside to take the lead in their play. This freedom harnesses their natural enthusiasm and curiosity and enables them to be creative as they develop their own tasks, art and imaginative role plays using natural resources in collaboration with others. As we visit in all weathers, they develop resilience; we often find that the most enjoyable days are the rainiest as we find new insects, smells and of course, the muddiest puddles! This resilience is evident as the boys approach new tasks and challenges with determination and the persevere to keep going until they have met their goal, which has a positive impact on their self-esteem. We see the boys display courage as they take risks and approach new experiences with enthusiasm such as climbing trees and using tools such as bow saws, bill hooks and sheaf knives. As they have the freedom to explore new and familiar areas on a regular basis, they discover how these change throughout the seasons, showing fantastic natural curiosity through the exploration of insects, trees and new textures. The boys are supported to reflect on what they have seen and to ask questions as they become knowledgeable about the world around them and as they share experiences, such as what they have enjoyed and challenges which they have overcome.
Other benefits of Forest School include:
- a positive impact on their wellbeing as they enjoy spending time outside with nature,
- a beneficial impact on their Communication and Language skills as they play, share ideas and listen to each other,
- support for their Personal, Social and Emotional Development as they build relationships, play and share resources,
- opportunities for fine and gross motor skills to grow as they use tools to saw, cut, dig and transport materials, the development of which is vital for later writing,
- new opportunities for imaginative play as they explore and create in the absence of familiar toys giving them experiences to talk and write about,
- building an awareness of the environment around them as they share ideas and ask questions, which supports their understanding of the world, sustainability and how to care for it.