Forest School & OWL 2020 Newsletter

Updated: Feb 13

Well that was an odd year! Despite the lockdown and all the restrictions, we felt extremely lucky to be working outside with all the children, albeit with one or two small changes. Our colleagues at St John's were indoors dealing with massive changes and their physical spaces were reorganised beyond recognition. Fortunately the weather was good and with so much open space put to good use to accommodate those at school, we all adapted to the changes very quickly with as little worry to the children as possible.

Those at FSUK worked full time and we made it as fun as we could for all our "bubbles". From climbing in the woods and completing lots and lots of gardening tasks. For those at home we developed online learning ideas and nature themed competitions and activities that the children engaged with very well. We even had a 'virtual garden' online.

A big thank you for all those have supported us over the year and especially those that helped with our allotment fund, we really couldn't have done it without your help.

You can have a look through some of what we got up to during 2020 below.

Owl News

The advantage we have with the groups being small at OWL is we were able to adapt our plans in line with the restrictions. Once the children returned we switched all of our planning to wellbeing and mental health activity. We did find some of the children were anxious about the current global situation they find themselves in. One of the most popular exercises was making "worry boxes' these were fun to make and collect and opened all sorts of conversations and ideas surrounding feelings and concerns. The second half of the year we decided to set a challenge that involved the groups building a waterproof shelter as teams. Of course a big storm came along in the shape of a huge yellow bucket of water to test the dens - needless to say some children got wet!

Forest School News

Our Forest School went from strength to strength this year, with St John's introducing a third weekly session to enable us to work closely with even more children. With the introduction of a working allotment on the site we certainly had lots to do in addition to all our usual activity. We follow the six principals of Forest School and continue to be completely child led in our two hour sessions whatever the weather. It is greatly encouraging to see the children want to take part and help out across all areas of the site. We have seen great improvements in behaviours, resilience and group play across the sessions. In addition we've seen confidence grow and characters develop.

1:1 Learning & Alternative Provision

We are proud of the great progress that has been made in all the 1:1 sessions. Our site allows for exploration of surroundings, emotions and behaviour. The children are allowed to take time to rest, think and discuss with us how they might deal with challenges they face. We run a five step program leading to a return to mainstream school.