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Forest Schools

(14 Posts)
WW86 Tue 02-Oct-18 10:37:10

Hi all

Does anyone have any experience with 'Forest Schools'?

My son has been offered a place an afternoon a week.
The teacher says he is struggling with writing, i am struggling to see how talking him out of lessons for an afternoon to forest school will improve his writing?

I am not clued up on forest schools so would be great if anyone has any experience??

Many thanks!!!!

CesiraAndEnrico Tue 02-Oct-18 10:51:28

I've only read about them.

But if anybody had made me spend a large chunk of the school day in the cold or drizzle I'd have been spending my time "out in nature" distracting myself from how much I hated it by planning on picking out an equally "non comfortable" retirement home for them.

I could take the 70s/80s 'tude of shunting you into the playground in all weathers bar actual hurricane. I liked being outside well enough to cope just fine with that and didn't like the odd day we were coralled inside for breaks. But my tolerance for extended periods in anything damp and a bit nippy, no matter how well dressed for the occasion, has always been pretty low.

I have dyslexia and ADHD, so spelling and handwriting were issues and not having to write was generally well received. But nippy and damp is too high price to pay for getting to leave your pen at home.

IM formerly young self's O

April2018mom Thu 04-Oct-18 20:44:00

I’ve heard about them. Honestly I’m not impressed at the idea. But if you do decide to send your child to one I recommend doing a lot of research and asking questions. Forest schools are focused on nature studies. Visit the school with your child in tow and trust your gut feeling about the school.

Harleyisme Thu 04-Oct-18 20:48:49

My dcs used to go to a forest school nursery. One thrived and loved it the other sobbed his heart out everytime as he had no choice but to go as the nursery wasn't flexiable about it. I think the bizarre part for us was when they decided to do the christmas concert outside the children were on a decking with a shelter while parents were sat and stood in the freezing cold and hail stone.

frippit Thu 04-Oct-18 20:51:24

Hi I've been a countryside ranger for 30 years and am also a level 3 forest school leader.
Forest schools promote confidence, resilience and emotional intelligence. Children who find the learning environment of a classroom difficult will often thrive in a forest school setting. I would jump at this if it was my child. Forest school provision is expensive and you are lucky to be offered it for your child.

littleblackno Thu 04-Oct-18 20:53:38

My kids have done forest school as a holiday club. They absolutely love it and ds is not one for outdoors at all.
He will be too old the next holiday he can attend (feb half term) but has been asked back to volunteer with the younger kids, which he is really looking forward to.
Not sure if this is the same as you are talking about but they have done all sorts such as building fires, cooking on open fires, craft, wood work, walking in the woods and spotting nature, team activities as well as being responsible for each other. They have had so much fun. They come home filthy, covered in mud (I have to put a cover on the back of the car) wet, cold but singing loudly and very happy and tired!

Airuth Thu 04-Oct-18 20:56:18

The children's school does forest school for a couple of hours a week and they love it. It gets them out of the classroom, they let of some steam and they really enjoy it. They have recently had a whole day in the woods, it actually happened on the day that inspectors came into the school. They had such a great day! It's not the weather that's inappropriate, it's the clothes. If they are wearing the proper clothes then they stay dry and warm.

EggysMom Thu 04-Oct-18 21:01:18

i am struggling to see how talking him out of lessons for an afternoon to forest school will improve his writing?

Maybe taking him away from the classroom and away from the pressure to improve his writing, giving him space to breathe, would help him to relax more during the rest of the week, making him more receptive to learning and advice ...

mybumpismostlypudding Thu 04-Oct-18 21:08:15

It's often seen as a good opportunity for children who don't feel confident in their standard school setting to really blossom and develop the self confidence that could support them through school. In my experience I have found that children could push through a task that they initially found difficult in forest school (eg. doing a low ropes course that they initially fell off ) because they are more motivated. (Lets be honest, it's usually more fun than writing, especially if writing is hard for you!)

These children may then have the confidence to persist at other tasks (eg hopefully in school)

As a teacher, it's really lovely to see children shine in a different area. I also feel it's good for children to be the best at something in terms of their classroom relationships - it might help their self confidence in terms of friendships too!

Obviously I'm biased, but I think they're a wonderful opportunity

LeakyLoftHatch Thu 04-Oct-18 21:08:48

All children at our school get to do forest school, one afternoon a week for block of 10 weeks at a time, planned so that over 2 years they will have gone out each season, regardless of weather. They love it. Allowed to wear their own scruffy clothes, encouraged to experiment with all sorts of stuff, to light a fire and toast marshmallows on it, to make clay models, to tie dye a hanky with natural dyes they've collected themselves, to collect all manner of objects, to observe plants, animals, the sky, to learn in so many different ways, to feel free! So while it may not directly improve your DS's handwriting as such, it might just inspire him in all sorts of ways.

mybumpismostlypudding Thu 04-Oct-18 21:08:54

Forgive me if that wasn't very clear, I'm tired! Happy to talk more about them if you have any questions, though I am by no means an expert!

MagicKeysToAsda Thu 04-Oct-18 21:20:13

Our school offers this - sounds all wholesome and marvellous in principle, and tends to be something a great deal of smugness is linked to "aren't we amazing to do this?". In reality, DD hated it and reached the stage of total school refusal on days when it was scheduled. To try and overcome this, I went along as a helper for weeks - it was not something I'd want to repeat! A fair few of the other children were also miserable, it was chaotic and noisy (not just in the free play times but also when they were supposed to be completing activities), and I never saw them do anything that they couldn't more sensibly have been doing back in the school - why make a group of children try and write on wet paper with pencils making holes in the paper, attempting to find a flat bit of wet grass to lean on? We gave up. I was surprised it was so bad, as DD loves the outdoors when it's not connected to school.

WW86 Thu 04-Oct-18 21:21:27

Hi everyone

Thank you all very much for your replies.

I researched a little more and spoke to the teacher, she explained it was to boost his confidence and her words 'it's a fun thing to do'

He went along for his first session yesterday and he came back saying he really enjoyed it so I'm going to stick with it, hopefully his confidence will be boosted and this will help him in the classroom too smile

mybumpismostlypudding Thu 04-Oct-18 21:32:14

So pleased he enjoyed it! Hope it works well for you

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