21 February 2022

Forest School

My name’s Sophie and I am the nursery manager for Ark Start Oval in East Croydon. Here at Ark Start, we provide forest school sessions for our children twice a week – we believe it helps them build an appreciation of the natural world and build children’s self esteem as well as their approach to risk. It also helps us make sure our children are meeting the NHS guidelines of spending at least three hours a day being active and as much time as possible outside.

We are so lucky in Croydon to have direct access to our own forest school area which we have been developing this year from a corner of a field to full on Forest School. We have added a designated digging area, mud kitchen and are creating bug hotels to help encourage nature into our meadow. We have plenty of space to be active with our bodies and resources are taken out to spark our children’s interests, whether that’s making a rope swing or a den to hide in!

Forest School originated in Denmark and has now been an integral part of the early years curriculum for over thirty years! Forest School is based mainly outside, as it provides a comfortable and relaxing learning environment for children. The outside world is always changing and provides many different opportunities for children to explore, investigate and experience.

I first trained in forest school  3 years ago and love it – particularly watching children develop confidence to take managed risks. I love watching a child who is shy of getting dirty, hold a worm with muddy hands for the first time!  Many of our children have never been part of activities like this, but they have really enjoyed getting stuck in – whatever the weather. We were particularly excited this week to get creative with ropes, could we use it for a den, swing, tightrope?- why not all 3!

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