What is Forest Schools?
Darley Dale Primary School is situated in magnificent grounds. Staff felt this was a resource that could have a positive impact on many aspects of children's quality of education and personal development. We began staff training and structured outdoor learning way back in January 2015.
As we said, the Forest School idea grew from staff’s desire to provide a curriculum at Darley Dale Primary School which reflected the naturally stunning area in which the school is situated.
Through Forest School and other environmentally-based initiatives, children attending Darley Dale Primary School are able to develop a life long love and understanding of the natural environment, whilst developing the core purposes of the Forest School ethos, namely, development of self-esteem, confidence and social skills. Through carefully planned activities, children from the school take part in Forest School work, which are designed to enable children to excel in all areas of their personal, academic and spiritual development.
The philosophy which underpins the Forest School movement is to encourage and inspire individuals and groups, through mastery of small, achievable tasks in a woodland environment and to grow in confidence and independence, so that they are able to develop a sense of self-worth.
Children acquire new skills as they are ready for them so that activities maintain a degree of challenge and excitement, whilst remaining safe and controlled.
At Darley Dale Primary School we operate our Forest School in our own grounds which surround the school. The grounds are constantly evolving and thanks to the efforts of parents, children, friends and staff we have developed several stunning and unique zones and areas for children to learn in and enjoy. We are extreemely fortunate to have such a wonderful natural learning resource.
The freedom of the ‘forest’ allows the children the opportunity to experience remoteness and a realistic experience in which they are able to practise their skills and further develop their understanding of a woodland environment.
Experience in other settings, both in Britain and abroad. has shown Forest School to be inspirational, opinion changing and challenging. It raises expectations and develops insights into individual learning styles and schemas. It is personally and socially uplifting so laying the foundations for other learning. Unlike other forms of outdoor education which generally concentrate on team-building, challenging activities or competitiveness, the Forest School embraces an entirely different approach through the nurturing, support and development of the self-esteem of participants.