Open Air Teaching
Forest School at Tickwood
There are dedicated sites for children to participate in Forest School activities; each with its own wooden structure which can shelter a class in all weather, a fire circle and compost loo. Wheelchair-accessible and eco-friendly matting cover much of forest paths allowing those with physical disabilities to move freely. Adventure playground equipment that has been designed to suit children of all abilities – such as a rope bridge and climbing equipment – is spread throughout the site. In addition, Tickwood is home to the UK’s highest zip wire for wheelchair users. All these elements have been selected to offer children the opportunity to not only play, but to also challenge themselves both physically and mentally.
Copy extract taken from Severndale Specialist Academy Forest School -Policy Document
The woodlands at Tickwood consist of a rich and diverse range of flora and fauna. The children see new born lambs and calves in the fields as well as the occasional wild deer. Wood peckers, buzzards and robins often fly past the children as they busily participate with Forest School activities. Along the Woodland Walk children observe the seasonal changes; from the changing colours of autumn leaves and the wealthy crop of blackberries, to the frosted grass and bare branches of the winter and the green carpet of the dogs tooth mercury covering the forest floor and leaf laden branches of the Summer.
There are currently six Forest School sites at Tickwood, one is specifically allocated to our pupils who have profound and multiple learning difficulties and the other sites are used by students who are aged from four to sixteen years old. The sessions are led by a team of specially trained Forest School leaders who provide the students with a varied range of activities from hunting for mini beasts, cooking on an open fire to using simple tools and many activities in-between. Forest School has impacted upon our students in many ways; it has developed their independence and confidence which supports their ability to communicate, interact with one another and to develop their own ideas. It also helps the students to become conscientious members of our community through learning how to care for their environment, making them aware of their own safety through self-risk assessment and being responsible for their own belongings and equipment.
We aim to give children an understanding of the ethos of a Forest School experience. This approach enables children to be independent, self-motivated, courageous, considerate and will set them up for life long learning. Forest School particularly supports the development of self-esteem and self-confidence. There are many important issues to be considered here and we aim to remain true to the Forest School ethos and approach.
Forest School has environmental awareness at the heart of its ethos. Wherever possible environmentally friendly products and recyclable materials should be used when appropriate. Good practice should be modelled by adults showing children that the world in which we live should be cared for. Involving children in site checks and planning environmental games will help to support this.
Health and Safety Considerations
The Forest School programme will support young children to develop responsibility for themselves and others. It will encourage early risk management strategies that will ensure that young children start to consider the impact of their actions on themselves and on others.