Forest School and Outdoor Learning at Beaminster St. Mary’s Academy
At Beaminster St Mary’s we are committed to providing outdoor education based around the six principles of Forest Schools. We aim to have resilient, confident, independent and creative learners who have an excellent understanding of the natural world around them. Risk taking, and learning how to manage risk, are essential life skills which are fostered through Forest School in a supportive environment. We believe that this will create individuals who understand their responsibilities to the natural world and who have environmentally sustainable attituded.
Our Forest School connects us to the wider community as we plant and grow trees, in our tree nursery, to be distributed to the wider community. We also have strong links with the Beaminster Eco Group as well as with Beaminster School with students working with us as part of their D of E awards. Two of our members of staff are currently undergoing Forest School Training which will enable us to enhance or provision.
Each class has the opportunity to work in our Woodland for one dedicated session each week. These sessions are an extension of other outdoor learning that takes place across the curriculum. Each half term, some activities will link to the Science and Topic learning that is taking place in the classroom. These also aim to develop key skills which are broken into different areas of learning. Once all of our pupils have a grounding in the principals of Forest School, we intend to have greater differentiation and a clear progression of skills for each year group. In addition, we aim to follow pupils’ interests as they take ownership of their own learning.
Beaminster St Mary’s 8 principles for an enriched and connected curriculum:
1) In your element – Throw yourself into every Forest School lesson, trust yourself, give it a try, take risks - you might like it more than you think!
2) In your hands - You are responsible for your own journey. The Woodland provides a wealth of learning opportunities so challenge yourself. The present and the future is in your hands…
3) In your mind - In Forest School you might not know the answers or how to do something straight away. Use your growth mindset, believe in yourself and don’t fear the unknown.
4) In your imagination – Curiosity and Problem Solving skills are essential to your learning. The Woods can be anything you want them to be… A transportation to Narnia, the way to Grandma’s house (avoiding a wolf) or your own hidden camp!
5) In your heart - Love and kindness for yourself, for others, for the world. You need to work cooperatively, showing the ability to listen to others but also challenge each other.
6) In your world – Looking after the environment and living sustainably, are key to the future of our world. Your actions can have a global impact.
7) In your community – Our Woodland can connect us to our community by providing trees, fruit and food. We can work with others to support wildlife and the environment in West Dorset.
8) In your future - The Natural World is essential to your future, your infinite possibilities. It will play a part – however big, however small - in the story of you.