Manea is a Forest School, but what is a Forest School?
Forest schooling is an approach to outdoor learning. It is described as:
“An inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hand-on learning within a woodland or natural environment with trees and plants.”
The list below is a broad outline of some of the features of forest schooling:
Children exploring their local woodland.
Exploring Self- Exploring autumnal colours with a range of different leaves.
Children developing their team work skills to solve a problem
In 1993 a group of nursery nurses from Somerset went to visit the “early years provision” in Denmark. They were so impressed with what they saw it impacted the future practise within their setting and implemented the approach as soon as they returned. The practitioners watched the children's creativity blossom. Two years later the college in which they were based created a BTech in Forest School Leadership. Over the years this approach to learning was becoming more and more popular which ended up with training being offered in more locations.
The Scandinavian model is different as it is mainly offered to the “early years” sector. The forest school movement in the United Kingdom is constantly growing and is now being used in a range of settings such as primary and secondary schools.
Here at Manea School we are also in a lovely position to be working in a county that understands the importance of this approach to a child's development. We have a dedicated “Early Years Forest School Advisor” who supports schools and other settings within the county with the approach. Regular Practitioner Network meetings are also held in order for teachers, teaching assistants and childminders to share best practice.
Our Forest School Leader is Mr Lenton. He is a qualified level three forest school leader.. This has gave him a very good skill set to ensure our Forest School sessions are exciting, beneficial and safe. He is qualified to teach outdoor practical skills, which involves using tools to create items out of natural items as well as being able to use fires during the sessions.
On 20th October 2017 we were joined by some of the local schools in our area. The members of staff came to see what forest school was all about. The teachers at Manea Community Primary School all led various activities. See the report of the amazing day below!