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Maplefields Academy

A Specialist Social, Emotional & Mental Health Academy

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Outdoor learning

Outdoor learning

 

Introduction:

 

Outdoor learning (in particular forest school) is an important subject for our students to develop invaluable life skills. Forest school allows our students to develop a sense of independence, build confidence and their self-esteem as well as knowledge of the natural environment surrounding them. Forest school is focused on each individual student with lessons that provide opportunities for success. Forest school is offered to all of our primary children throughout KS1 and KS2, our year 7 classes as well as our KS3 Nurture provision.   

 

Maplefields Academy follows six key principles stated by Forest School England which are used throughout sessions, these being:

 

  • Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit.

 

  • Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.

 

  • Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.

 

  • Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.

 

  • Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

 

  • Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.

 

Curriculum Statement

 

The intention of outdoor learning at Maplefields and in particular, forest school is to provide the pupils the opportunity to:

  • Develop communication skills with peers as well as staff in an outdoor environment. Pupils will problem solve and become creative and imagination through a variety of forest school activities. Pupils will have the opportunity to develop both their verbal and non-verbal communication skills through team work activities.

 

  • To build pupils self-esteem and confidence through experimentation and experience to inform judgements that also link to real world concepts. Pupils will have the opportunity to select and use imagination through their learning which will be developed by free play within the forest in order to discover their own new ways of learning. 

 

 

  • To promote a sense of independence by allowing appropriate risk taking to occur. Pupils have the choice to decide the activities in which they want to participate in resulting in them taking responsibility for their own learning. Opportunities and activities will be provided however, it is ultimately the decision of the pupils to become independent in their own learning.

 

  • To build confidence, every pupil is provided with an equal opportunity to learn through experience regardless of the activities they are participating in. Pupils will be encouraged to explore in different ways at forest school.  

 

 

  • To incorporate opportunities for cross-curriculum skills for example, being physical active, PHSE, life skills, social interaction.  

 

  • To learn in a different environment away from the classroom. Pupils are given time to explore and create while using their surroundings in the forest enabling pupils to become independent and creative thinkers.  

 

 

KS1:

 

KS1 has a focus on learning outside of the classroom in a different working environment. Pupils are given time to explore and create while using their surroundings in the forest which enables pupils to become independent and creative thinkers. Every pupil is provided with an equal opportunity to learn through experience regardless of the activities they are participating in. Pupils will be encouraged to explore in different ways at forest school. The key driver for pupils within KS1 is to experience play and free choice while learning. Activities offered into order to support play include: team building games, animal identification, puddle jumping, mud sliding and cooking on the fire.   

 

KS2:

 

KS2 will build on skills learnt throughout KS1. Pupils will learn how to problem solve and become creative and imaginative through a variety of forest school activities. Pupils will have the opportunity to develop both their verbal and non-verbal communication skills through team work activities, for example building dens. Throughout KS2 pupils are involved in a variety of activities in order to promote independence. Pupils begin to learn about the environment through using and creating identification guides in order to support learning. Activities involved throughout KS2 include: puddle jumping, den building, safety of a fire, mud sliding, team building games and working with tools.  

 

Year 7:

 

Year 7 further develops pupils’ creativity within the forest. Pupils will build self-esteem and confidence through experimentation and experience to inform judgements that also link to real world concepts. Life skills are an important aspect throughout forest school sessions and within year 7 independent learning is key driver. Pupils will have the opportunity to select and use imagination through their learning which will be developed by free play/choice within the forest in order to discover their own new ways of learning. Activities our provided in order to fully support learning and to develop life skills, for example creating and cooking on a fire.  

 

 

KS3 Nurture:

 

Pupils within the KS3 Nurture provision (year 7, 8 and 9) participate in sessions including, tree climbing, team building, den making, collecting fire wood, cooking on the fire and working with tools (loppers, bow saw, secateurs). Within KS3 forest school session pupil will develop a sense of independence by allowing appropriate risk taking to occur. Pupils have the choice to decide the activities in which they want to participate in resulting in them taking responsibility for their own learning. Opportunities and activities will be provided however, it is ultimately the decision of the pupils to become independent in their own learning. By the end of year 9 pupils will have the option to continue learning about the outdoors and being working towards their Duke of Edinburgh bronze award within KS4. Additionally, leaders are identified within KS3 that will attend forest school session to support the learning environment for pupils in KS1 and KS2.

 

 

 

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