At the Seahorse Nursery we believe children’s learning and development significantly benefits from the ethos and philosophies related to Forest School education and have developed a programme that focuses on these principles while fully supporting the statutory Early Years Framework. Forest School is based entirely outdoors and takes place in nearby woodland. We take materials to create a base camp and a range of resources to support learning. We ask that children wear wet weather clothing and wellington boots. The children carry their drink and snack to have in the Woodland. If the weather is poor, depending on the children’s mood and dispositions, we will shorten the session. However in the world of Forest School there is no such thing as bad weather just poor clothing.

Key features

  • The regular use of a woodland setting framed by strict safety routines and established boundaries.
  • It follows a child-centred pedagogy where children learn about and manage risk appropriate to the environment and themselves.
  • It aims to promote holistic development of all involved. The freedom to explore using multiple senses is fundamental for encouraging creative, diverse and imaginative play.
  • Learning is linked to the Early Years Foundation Stage objectives whilst setting those objectives in a different context.
  • Observations of the children form part of their learning journal.

Benefits of outdoor learning

  • Confidence and self-esteem – children are encouraged to be independent, try new things and are trusted to follow the rules. They will gain confidence by acquiring knowledge and skills and showing pride in achievement.
  • Social skills – children will walk together to the woodland in pairs and during the session will have opportunities to work in small groups with their peers and friends.
  • Language and communication – being outdoors naturally stimulates conversation and extends vocabulary and listening skills. Asking questions, devising experiments and finding out answers concerned with the environment will develop thinking and sustained shared thinking.
  • Physical skills – negotiating the uneven terrain helps balance, spatial awareness and co-ordination. All practical activities promote gross and fine motor skills and the exploration of new movements.
  • Creativity – the forest provides plenty of opportunity to use imagination. Similarly the flexibility and adaptable characteristics of natural objects make them ideal resources to promote creativity. Knowledge and Understanding – close encounters to experience nature will help your child to learn about the world around them.
  • Health benefits – being outdoors means lots of fresh air and exercise to stay fit and well. Research also shows that children who are exposed to healthy bacteria, parasites, and viruses will develop a much stronger immune system.
  • New perspectives – opportunities during these sessions will develop your child’s interests, attitudes and aesthetic awareness of the wider world.