Moving to a new large school can be quite a daunting experience for some students and being in a formal classroom environment can be challenging for others. Since 2013 Magdalen has run a Forest School Transitions programme to specifically support these children. Forest School activities are a great way of using the outdoors to build self-confidence and self-esteem, through learning practical skills that the children can’t normally experience in a traditional classroom setting.
Each session builds on activities from the previous session, providing continuity by developing and maintaining learnt skills. Children will learn to work in a small team, which in turn can enhance their self-esteem and self-confidence as well as helping to develop their language and communication abilities. Further benefits include improved motivation and concentration and enhanced social skills, which all will greatly improve the experience of transition into a new school.
We use a range of activities with the students, including bush-craft, nature conservation, campfire cooking, vegetable growing, creating child-led structures, sensory activities wildlife tracking, planting, conservation activities, making and installing bird boxes, environmental art and outdoor team-building games.
Over the past 3 years Magdalen has supported a number of schools through the Forest School Programme. We’ve seen many individuals thrive in a safe and nurturing environment where they can be themselves and spend time with their peers learning to do new things. It’s also an opportunity for them to get to know teaching staff and to begin to feel a connection to their school.
“Forest School turns my bad days into good days and spending time with my friends and being in the woods has helped me to cope with school”. (Student from Honiton Community College)
Teaching staff have also noticed the benefits of the project on the individuals and in their transition to their new schools.
“The pupils really looked forward to the sessions so we saw excellent attendance for these sessions. As their confidence grew, we saw their overall attendance improve and even extend to attending clubs after school”. (Teacher from Heathfield Community School)
Thanks to our friends at the Dulverton Trust we are funded to run the project until 2019. The Forest School programme works with small groups of students, typically 6 at a time, and consists of 8 sessions based within school grounds, followed by an optional day trip to our working farm and finally with a 2 night stay at our farm residential centre.
If you are interested in finding out more about the project please call Lisa Herbert on 01460 30144 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org