A Year of Forest School

Chris Hussey

(Reproduced from Constant Times Volume 8, Issue 5; authored by Elfie Carson)

It has been just over a year since Constantine Pre-school began regular Forest School sessions in the community-owned section of Bosahan Woods. And what an incredible year it has been. We have enjoyed so many different adventures! Here are just a few of the things we have got up to… learned how to light fires and cook outside, built dens, paddled in the stream, meditated in the trees, found bugs, toads and badger sets, used tools to cut firewood and make musical instruments, gone exploring, learned how to make natural paints, prints and sculptures, climbed trees, told stories, played games, made boats… and many other things besides. The children are enjoying the sessions immensely, as are the staff, and we have all developed new skills. We have found that the children’s physical development and confidence have flourished: they are taking risks together and meeting new challenges in an exciting environment, which means that their self-esteem and emotional resilience are also increasing. Every session we watch them tackle problems with enthusiasm and work out new ways of doing things, but most importantly they are forging solid and lasting friendships with each other.

Forest School activities

We are also noticing the impact of our time in the woods back in the classroom: the children are calm, caring and considerate to each other. We are having a lovely time together! Many of the children are spending more time in the woods, outside of the preschool hours, sharing their experiences with other family members. We hope their experiences will give them an understanding and respect for the natural world, as well as a feeling of investment and love for their local woodland and the community that care for it. Constantine Preschool would like to thank Muriel Lawrence and the Bosahan Woods Management Team for their support in setting up and running the Forest School sessions; the Evans family and all at Nanjarrow Farm for their support with access and the storage box; the local resident who regularly cuts back the brambles at toddler height; Martin and his strimmer; the Preschool committee; all of the dog-walkers, hikers, runners and horse riders, who generously share the woods with us; the parents, friends and grandparents who have volunteered at sessions in the woods; and finally the children and staff for embracing this new adventure with such energy and enthusiasm. Here’s to another fantastic year of Forest School fun!