Forest School is a child-centered learning process which supports play, risk taking and exploration through regular sessions held outside. The Forest School Association write that Forest School 'facilitates more than knowledge-gathering, it helps learners develop socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually. It creates a safe, non-judgmental nurturing environment for learners to try stuff out and take risks. Forest School inspires a deep and meaningful connection to the world and an understanding of how a learner fits within it. Our approach to risk means that learners constantly expand their abilities by solving real-world issues, building self-belief and resilience. We believe that risk is more than just potential for physical harm, but a more holistic thing, there are risks in everything we do, and we grow by overcoming them. Forest School therefore, helps participants to become, healthy, resilient, creative and independent learners.'
Children at Queensmead take part in regular Forest Schools sessions delivered in half-termly blocks, with each half term having a different learning focus. These topics are often inspired by taking learning they are completing inside the classroom and translating that into an outdoor setting. Year 2 students have read and created maps and been introduced to using compasses as they worked on their pirate topic, while Year 1 students practically explored the seasonal changes they were learning about in their science lessons. As Forest School is a new subject area at Queensmead, some skills are being taught from the basics across the school. An Introduction to Tools program is being delivered to all students, so children can learn the basics of whittling using peelers, and then move on to more advanced tool usage as their skills progress in the future. Students also have the opportunity to attend Gardening Club, in which they take part in a variety of activities to support our beautiful outdoor areas here at Queensmead.
Queensmead is applying for the Forest School Association accreditation, which identifies us as a quality Forest School provider.