What is Forest School in Early Years?

One of the perks of being an independent school in Devon is that we are lucky enough to take advantage of twenty-eight acres of outdoor space, which includes woodlands, adventure playgrounds, open lawns, cricket, football and rugby pitches, astroturf, tennis courts, and a heated swimming pool.

We strongly believe that the outdoors is not only a playground that plays a positive role in a child’s mental health, but it’s one of the best places for young children to learn, grow, and flourish into the outstanding and independent individuals they are.

At St Peter’s Prep, we encourage outdoor learning for children in early years with forest school, also known as our outdoor classroom.

the benefits of going to school by the sea

What is Forest School?

Our school is located by the idyllic Exe Estuary and is only a short drive from the immersive Woodbury Common and neighbouring beaches around Exmouth. This allows us to offer regular beach learning, gardening, and much more with our early years children, and our older students can sail every week in the warmer months with a club or take wakeboarding lessons.

Ultimately, our forest school encourages young children to embrace the fresh air, adventure around the woodland, splash in the mud, and experience the beautiful sandy beaches and sea around us – all while learning in a stimulating and engaging environment!

Forest school offers a holistic teaching approach, providing our early years children with valuable life skills and an appreciation for nature and the world around them, whilst giving them the space and support to play, explore, and take risks (with the guidance of our teachers).

learn more about forest school

Forest School Activities for Early Years

Forest school at St Peter’s is full of a variety of outdoor activities that encourage growth, learning, and play:

  • Beach School
  • Gardening Activities
  • Wilderness Days
  • Bird Watching
  • Den Building
  • Tree Climbing
  • Outdoor Geography & Science Lessons

If you would like to get your child involved in your garden at home, why don’t you have a look at our previous blog below?

4 Easy Plants for Children to Grow

Benefits of Forest School in Early Years

There are many benefits our early years will experience from forest school. It encourages children to develop their social and emotional skills, allowing them to build excellent language and communication skills to express their feelings, listen to others, and make lasting friendships.

Children also benefit from time outdoors and fresh air, which is a vital factor that contributes significantly to their mental health, creating happier children.

a group of students sat around an outdoor fire cooking marshmallows

Forest school also gives our children the opportunity to exercise outdoors whilst having fun, improving their physical health. Young children are naturally curious about the world around them, and forest school allows them to explore its boundaries, as well as their own, in a safe, non-judgmental and nurturing environment; giving them a sense of independence.

Children also have the opportunity to expand on other life skills, such as analysing and solving problems, the importance of teamwork, and resilience.

Lastly, forest school gives young children a chance to appreciate the world they live in and form a positive relationship with nature and our planet. They will gain a better understanding of the role in which they play and how they impact our world; crucial for the future of our big blue planet.

If you would like to learn more about our approach to teaching at St Peter’s Prep, as well as the subjects we offer, then request a prospectus today.

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