Forest School is an approach to education that focuses on providing children with regular, ongoing access togreen spaces for their social, emotional, cognitive and physical benefit. The advantages of spending long periods of time outdoors have been well documented and include, but are not limited to, reduced stress, increased creativity, self-esteem, sense of belonging, connection to nature, balance, sensory integration, muscle strength, eyesight and confidence (Maller, 2009).
Our children attend at least four consecutive full-day sessions per year so that ALL children at our service are able to have a turn from nursery to kindergarten. Our full days include having lunch and a rest outdoors before heading back to Kurilpa for afternoon tea. During their time, the children engage in a range of self-initiated experiences with only the natural resources available on-site and tools for the children to use as they create and imagine. These tools include saws, peelers (for whittling), palm drills and hand drills, scissors and string. This provides children with the opportunity to develop their creative and imaginative approaches to learning as nature does not define how or why you interact with it.
The children have spent their time climbing trees (reaching heights they did not realise they could get to), playing socio-dramatic play games amongst the bushes, making necklaces, mobiles, fairy houses, bouquets and characters with sticks and leaves, building dens and cubbies, planting, maintaining and harvesting seasonal fruits and vegetables which are included in their lunches, collaborating with the local community volunteer gardeners and learning the names and uses for the local flora and fauna.