Classes are taught outdoors in a wooded area, either within the school grounds or at a local woodland, and help children build their confidence, improve their teamwork and practical skills, and learn about natural environments.
The Mersey Forest helps schools and other organisations to access, create and adapt woodland spaces for their Forest School sessions, and provide advice and support to fledging Forest School programmes – some of which are based in woodlands which The Mersey Forest helped to plant over the past 25 years!
We've already worked with over half of Merseyside and North Cheshire's schools to introduce the benefits of natural play to children's education through school grounds improvements and Forest School. We're now helping teachers and practitioners to gain the Open College Network teaching qualification in Forest School, so that they can teach Forest School sessions on a regular basis.
What have you learnt that others will find most useful?
- Forest School isn't just about delivering the national curriculum at a primary school level, however. It has a range of applications and can be used to teach all ages.
- ‘Training the trainers’ is key to success, and we encourage teachers and other practitioners to gain qualifications in Forest School.
- Seek advice on the choice of a site where you would like to set up a Forest School woodland, so there are no issues in accessing or managing the site, and make sure you have the necessary landowner agreements and other formal documents in place.
- Set up cluster groups and support networks – so that advice and support is never far away.