Forest School Taster Session

Forest School Taster Session

I wrote an introduction to Forest School last year and so it was a great pleasure to be able to revisit the topic last week. I had enjoyed finding out about the objectives and benefits of Forest School, and I couldn’t wait until Finn was old enough to join in. Unfortunately, at the moment, due to work and other commitments, it is hard to find time to do any extracurricular activities at all, especially those that require attendance over a number of weeks. Then I happened to see that Outdoor Tribe were advertising taster sessions in North Northamptonshire and I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity to go along and experience first hand how positive it could be for me and Finn.

Just being outside in the wood brings a sense of relaxation and well-being

In my last post, I mentioned that Forest School is an ongoing process, with a minimum of 6 weeks needed to have the desired benefit. However, that’s not to say that a one off taster session has no merit. It’s a great chance to learn about the theory behind Forest School and try out some of the activities. Any time spent outdoors is never wasted as far as I’m concerned!

As Finn is only 2 years old, I had to help him and tailor some of the activities, but having said that, he surprised me with his understanding. With older children, the idea is that they very much decide the agenda, but as decision making isn’t his strong point (unless it involves food) I guided him as best as I could.

Anything involving sticks is always going to be a winner with toddlers!

Finn loved finding different leaves.

Finn loved exploring the wood and balancing on the logs.  It was great to see him getting stuck in as he is quite cautious by nature, plus he was the youngest there. One of the activities we did was finding different leaves. This encourages children to look around them and connect with their surroundings. I didn’t expect Finn to understand, but he actually did. I had to get the leaves, but he was very good at matching them with the correct picture on his sheet.

After a drink and a snack, I encouraged Finn to go and explore. I tried not to dictate to him, but it’s very hard taking a step back. I suggesting climbing on a tree, which he loved after a bit of gentle persuasion!

Finn is not always a fan of his feet leaving the floor, but his confidence soon grew once he saw the older kids doing it

His favourite activity of the day was building a den for ‘his’ badger. After choosing our animal we set off to find some sticks, Finn was in his element and happily raced off looking for the biggest ones he could find. He understood perfectly what we had to do and really enjoyed it. He loves being given a job to do so this suited him down to the ground.

Our deluxe badger residence (photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/OutdoorTribeUK/)

The two hours went really quickly and, although I enjoyed it immensely, we were both tired by the end. Even after one Forest School taster session, I could see that Finn’s confidence grew throughout the activities. I wasn’t expecting much from him, but he was engaged in the activities and listened and understood most of what was happening. I have to say that I think that the parents benefited just as much as the children. It was great to spend time with Finn outdoors with no distractions, also just being in a natural environment is so calming. It has also given me some ideas for activities that we can do at home.

Have you ever tried Forest School?

Country Kids

The Helpful Hiker

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Comments

  • Fiona Cambouropoulos Fiona Cambouropoulos May 20, at 14:24

    I have never been to a forest school session but I feel as though I run them each week here, every time I see a post I think,”that’s what I do here” so how could I not love it? Such a great way for parents and children to connect with nature together and explore the woods together. That little badger den is very cute and always good to find trees that little ones can manage too. The taster session is an excellent idea and so much to discover in that 2 hour session.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

    Reply
  • Rachel McClary Rachel McClary May 20, at 17:08

    Looks great. I have a colleague who visited forest schools in Denmark and her photos were so inspirational #country kids

    Reply
  • Claire Claire May 20, at 19:57

    We went to forest school a couple of weeks back. My 4 year old loved it. Im hoping to take her to more before she starts school. Love the badger den idea. #countrykids

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Elizabeth May 22, at 11:49

    I have never been to a Forest School but would love to. We have a wooded area near the house and try to do these sort of activities but I just love the ideas behind behind out and about all day. Thanks for the inspiration. #CountryKids

    Reply
  • I love the idea of forest schools, there are so many benefits to outdoor learning!

    Reply
  • Helena Helena May 23, at 13:54

    A year ago my eldest and I visited a couple of forest schools and I’d love to return when my youngest finds her feet. #Countrykids

    Reply
  • otisandus otisandus May 23, at 21:22

    I think the idea of forest school is just wonderful. Outdoor learning and nature… you just can’t beat it. #countrykids

    Reply
  • Oldhouseintheshires Oldhouseintheshires May 24, at 07:21

    I am a trained Forest School Leader and set one up about 10 years ago when they were quite new in the Uk. At the time they were inspirational to the UK and I really feel they are so beneficial to modern children who never go outside/need to go outside more. Love this post! I wrote a post https://oldhouseintheshires.com/2017/01/23/great-things-to-do-outside-with-your-children-right-now/ with many activities that I loved doing with the Forests school groups. #adventurecalling

    Reply
    • The Helpful Hiker The Helpful Hiker May 24, at 07:31

      Thanks, I love that post, so many easy ideas! Thank you for linking up again and supporting #AdventureCalling, it means a lot

      Reply
  • Sarah Stockley Sarah Stockley May 24, at 07:28

    I just think Forest school is great. I feel lucky that myself and my hubby know a lot about wild food etc which we are teaching our children but I think Forest schools are amazing. We did a day of bushcraft at Camp Wilderness and it was so enjoyable. Sarah #adventurecalling

    Reply
  • Maid in Dartmoor Maid in Dartmoor May 24, at 08:53

    We are lucky enough to have forest school every week in our school here in Dartmoor. There is nothing better. My girls love it! #Adventurecalling

    Reply
  • Emma | Devon Mum Emma | Devon Mum May 24, at 09:31

    This looks like a lot of fun. I need to find out where our nearest one is as I would prefer to take my little girl to this rather than a indoor play group #adventurecalling

    Reply
  • Emma - Hip2trek Emma - Hip2trek May 24, at 11:32

    Your post has reminded me that I was going to see if there was anything near me like this, I think they are such a great idea. Finn looks to have had a great time, how cute is his badger house! #adventurecalling

    Reply
  • Looks like a fun activity. #AdventureCalling

    Reply
  • Christine @afamilyday Christine @afamilyday May 24, at 19:31

    The school I work in has a Forest School on site – I sometimes help out when they’re short of volunteers so I know how much the kids love it! #adventurecalling

    Reply
  • Love forest school! My kids have done several forest school camps over the years, and we have done family days as well. I attended last week the inaugural conference of the Irish Forest School Association, very much modelled on the British FSA, and one of the points made was that all involved in forest school, children and adults, newbies and seasoned practitioners, learn and benefit from it. So exciting that Finn still has all of this to discover, he will love it!
    #CountryKids

    Reply
  • What a wonderful place yup send your children to. Being outside I nature really is the best way for children to learn, especially when they’re not confined to their own age group and can also learn from older children

    Reply
  • Sara | mumturnedmom Sara | mumturnedmom May 25, at 13:05

    This looks amazing, such a great experience for the children, and a fabulous way to learn. #countrykids

    Reply

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