NAME OF SETTING: Trevithick Academy, Cornwall
Trevithick Academy has a well organised early years unit with two reception classes and a nursery. The EYFS Unit has a well equipped outdoor space with good access from all classrooms. However in addition to using this space all children enjoy a fortnightly session of ‘Forest School’ in one of the two designated area on the school campus. Initially set up and led by the Head, the school is now moving towards having Forest School leaders within the staff team, to ensure the development and long term sustainability of the initiative.
EFFECTIVE OUTDOOR PRACTICE:
The school provides staff and children with protective clothing and each week 60 children have a session in the Forest School -two groups of 15 children go out in the morning and two groups go out in the afternoon. The two designated areas have different features; the nearer location provides climbing and balancing using ropes and ladders plus a well established fire-pit. The area at the boundary of the playing field has a green tunnel access point and once inside is a wilder area with natural ‘hazards’ such as brambles and nettles, as well as tree climbing opportunities. Bordered on two sides by stone walls and with a dense canopy of leaves overhead, this space provides a more sheltered environment for forest school on blowy and wet days.
BENEFITS AND POSITIVE OUTCOMES:
Children use the forest school area confidently, they understand the codes for behaviour when using different areas, and they demonstrate a good level of awareness regarding their own safety near the fire pit. The regular forest school experience has a very positive impact on children’s self esteem and resilience, their determination to overcome difficulties, and it increases their sense of achievement and pride in their own capabilities.