Forest School

Great Ballard has always had a strong belief in learning from the outside environment and encouraging our children to get plenty of fresh air to help with concentration and personal development.

We are lucky to have plenty of space in our rural grounds and have created a full on-site Forest School programme for all ages at the school, led by our Level Three Forest School Practitioner, Emma Pledger. This has now been running successfully for a number of years and our children love getting involved in the hands on activities.

Mud Washes off. Experiences Don’t!

Through the interactive learning programme at our Forest School, children can establish self-esteem and learn about the outdoor environment whilst developing skills in team-building and cooperation, risk management and project planning.

Child-led learning in a calm environment 

Forest School is based on child led learning, giving children the opportunity to explore and learn without structured rules and plans. We encouraging curiosity and exploration with all of the senses, empowering children in the natural environment and using the reflection process to build confidence and recognise achievements.

Children learn about flora and fauna whilst undertaking engaging tasks and giving praise and encouragement to others.

Every child within the school will experience Forest School sessions during the school year and we believe the happy experiences they have will linger in their memories for years to come.

Why is Forest School important?

The Forest Research Group, funded by the Forestry Commission, highlighted the benefits of Forest School to include:

  • Confidence: Developed by children having space, freedom and time to learn and demonstrate independence.
  • Social Skills: An increased awareness of the consequences of their actions on peers through team activities and sharing.
  • Communication: Language development was prompted by the children’s sensory experiences during sessions.
  • Motivation and Concentration: The woodland fascinates and focusses the children. They develop a keenness to participate and the ability to concentrate over longer periods of time.
  • Physical Skills: Improvements were characterised by the development of physical stamina and gross and fine motor skills through tools use and activities.
  • Knowledge and Understanding: The children develop an interest in the natural surroundings and respect the environment.

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