Forest School Area
CV7 7FS Solihull
21 Sep 2018 - 01 Mar 2019
Balsall Common Forrest School Project
We want to develop a wildlife area within our grounds that will enhance learning throughout all areas of the curriculum as well as being a location for a Forest School club. It is to be a sanctuary for wildlife as well as a learning space for the children to encourage development of emotional literacy and wellbeing.
The series of outdoors sensory-based activities will provide a safe and accessible environment in which to explore natural play, fires and cooking (where appropriate), tool use and den building, instrument making, storytelling, sensory awareness, listening skills, nature and gardening skills. The proposed activities will provide a wealth of positive outcomes that can be used to reduce children's feelings of exclusion and to strengthen children and their families' resources.
Balsall Common is a large school with 740+ pupils. We are constantly challenging ourselves to improve and look for new ways to engage children in their learning and encourage and inspire their curiosity.
The second school within the Trust, Damson Wood, has 200 pupils and could also benefit directly from the project.
A Forest School is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning. ‘By participating in, motivating, setting achievable tasks and activities in a woodland environment each participant has an opportunity to develop intrinsic motivation, emotional and social skills. These, through self-awareness can be developed to reach personal potential.
Forest Schools has demonstrated success with children of all ages, who have the opportunity to learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others.
At the present time Balsall Common Primary has no space in which Forest Schools or indeed any outdoor learning can take place. Although it is possible to go offsite for such activities, this project will be used not just for Forest Schools but to encourage outdoor learning throughout all areas of the curriculum. The findings of Ofsted’s 2008 report on Learning outside the classroom show that:
“The first-hand experiences of learning outside the classroom can help to make subjects more vivid and interesting for pupils and enhance their understanding.”
“Learning outside the classroom can also help to combat under-achievement.”
“Activities outside the classroom contributed much to the quality and depth of learning.”
With such a large cohort of children within our school it is quite clear to see the hugely positive effect this will have on our children. It will also help provide a setting for an after-school club that will not only enhance the curriculum, but help working parents and can be shared with other community groups such as Cubs, Scouts, Brownies, Guides, other play groups and children from the wider community.
As an inclusive school we have a number of children that are in wheelchairs and are less able bodied. The project will allow full access to ALL children to share the experience and build relationships.
The initial objective of the project is to further enhance pupil learning within a school setting but we also aim to increase parent engagement through the project and by working with other outside groups cement community cohesion.
The whole project will be set up and run with a dedicated qualified and experienced project worker in addition to the session staff, and will be evaluated to build learning especially with regards to sustainability of the work.