Ranby House Children Enjoy 'Lessons in the Forest'
27 May 2011
Ranby House School Nursery Teacher, Mrs Emma Bowden, is very interested in learning outdoors and has undertaken research into Forest Schools. She would like to complete her Masters dissertation on the value of learning outside the classroom with the emphasis on Forest Schools and its ability to motivate children in all aspects of the curriculum.
Studies conducted into the effects of Forest Schools have found that children had an improvement in their confidence, social and communication skills, motivation and concentration, physical skills and their knowledge and understanding.
Mrs Bowden has set up Learning in the Forest sessions to allow the Pre-Prep children at Ranby House School to access the wonderful and extensive grounds at the school. The children will be accessing activities such as making mini-beast habitats, shelter building, natural artwork and imaginative play along with team building, taking managed risks and exploring the environment throughout the seasons.
During the sessions the children are encouraged to take risks and initiate activities as a group. Already the school have seen children identify safe places to explore, use sticks as instruments and work together to move logs to make a seating area. They have shown awe and wonder looking up through the canopy of trees with one little girl saying ‘Wow! That is the biggest tree I have ever seen!’ It offers opportunities for children to share their knowledge and learn from others with statements such as ‘Look at this hole, what creatures might live here?’ and ‘The rings show how old the tree is. This one was very old.’
The quieter children seem more confident and the atmosphere in the nursery is one of excitement on a Wednesday morning when they head for the woods. Wearing jogging trousers and wellington boots the Nursery head out on another adventure together chatting along the way. In base camp they share snack discussing what they have discovered that morning.
The next step for Mrs Bowden will be to complete her level three Forest School leader course and for the other two members of staff involved to complete their training to ensure that Ranby House School can become accredited as a Forest School.
These are exciting times for Ranby House School and it is hoped to be able to extend these sessions further up the school.