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Forest School

If you go down to the woods today you are sure to get a surprise! You will find about half a dozen children with their leader doing “Life skills work”. Yes there is some running about, sticks in hand, being noisy, getting muddy but not getting into trouble! We all know that play is a serious business and that happy learners are good learners, but there is much more to it than this. All Oakington children are VIPs, not just in its usual sense, but also in the sense of Valued, Included and Protected. We are committed to leaving no-one behind and Forest School is one of the many ways we make good on this commitment. It’s all about building self-esteem i.e. nurturing self-respect and developing personal efficacy. How do we go about this? Traditional class sizes and the prescriptive nature of the national curriculum can mean that certain children can feel marginalised; the scope for pastoral work is limited. In forest school the children work in small groups, in an enriched environment, on challenging tasks that have a clear relevance to them. They are gently encouraged to use real tools, a lot of imagination and their communication skills to learn co-operatively to manipulate their environments. They build shelters, light fires, purify water, manufacture simple tools and adorn themselves with hand- made jewellery. They all make themselves a “Woodland Winner” medal: we have no losers in Forest School. All this promotes self-worth, team spirit and life-skills competency. At Forest School we say, and mean: “Full esteem ahead”.

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