Our Aims and Ethos
The ethos of our Forest School at Haberdashers’ is based on respect for the individual boy, of all ages from 5-11yrs, and their culture. It is about providing the opportunity to instigate, explore and maintain curiosity for the world around them. We believe in providing the opportunity for the boys to learn through play and to have:
- the right to access the outdoors (in particular our Soilai Woodland Trail environment with all its learning opportunities and cross-curricular links that it has to offer)
- the opportunity to access decisions involving risk and the vibrant reality of the natural world, to experience a range of emotions, through all the challenges of social interaction and team building
- the chance to build resilience that will promote continued creative thinking and engagement with peers.
All these areas outlined will help serve in encouraging our boys to engage, make connections and to reach their potential.
Our Forest School is based more on the process of learning than it is on the content. It steps boldly out of the shadow and limitation of planned activities, moving into the realms of the unplanned, unexpected and ultimately unlimited. Boys are given the opportunity to direct their own learning. Ultimately this is allied with the role of the Forest School teacher in ‘scaffolding’ a boy’s learning and play.
A woodland environment is key in supporting this dynamic approach to learning; from the changing seasons to the infinite source of smells, textures, sounds and tastes. A range of visual stimuli can be built upon from near to far, low to high, very big to very small. Additionally the layers of historical, cultural and spiritual significance that speak of our deep relationship with woodlands through the ages can be reflected on.
Boys in Year 3 have a six week block for two hours a week to experience our Forest School programme. In Year 4 they have the opportunity to join the Bushcraft Club which runs every week after school and some boys return in Year 5 to help coach and inspire the younger boys. Moving to Year 5 the boys have the opportunity to climb as a lunchtime club on our climbing wall and in Year 6 we run a TLC Club where the boys work on team, leadership and communication skills through completing various team challenges outdoors led by our staff. The boys thrive in this outdoor environment and our experience has been that it not only gives them a connection and respect for nature, but allows them the freedom to develop life skills and a certain resilience.