At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling! This is definitely our experience at The River School!
The extensive grounds at the River School, including woodland, orchards, pond and open fields, are the setting for our Forest School. The sessions, which all ages from 2 to 16 participate in throughout the school year, mainly take place in the Dell, a sheltered wooded area. We enter a different time-zone in Forest School where there is time and space to see and hear things and to talk about them without having to rush to finish. Forest School allows pupils to grow and discover their abilities at their own pace.
Forest School uses the natural environment, through open enquiry and exploration, to teach the pupils and foster in them a respect and understanding for God’s creation around them. The sessions are mainly child-led, the pupils choosing and suggesting activities. This is a powerful tool in raising their confidence and self-esteem and improving their motivation and concentration. Activities include: den-building, fire-lighting, cooking, climbing and sliding down the bank, using the swing, whittling, making bows and arrows, bug hunting, making bird feeders, identifying plants and birds ….
The Forest School sessions involve small groups of pupils with a high ratio of adults. This enables the pupils to take small risks and engage in challenging activities. The pupils leave the sessions having had fun and feeling good that they have succeeded in a challenge! Children from 2 years old and upwards are taught to use tools, such as penknives, bowsaws and drills. They are involved in a great number of activities that encourage them to think for themselves and develop their problem-solving skills.
Overheard during Forest School sessions:
‘I was afraid of fire and matches, but today I have overcome my fear.’
‘I wish I could do Forest School every day.’
‘This is the best bread I have ever eaten!’ (Cooking bread dough on a toasting-stick over an open fire.)