We believe that all children should get to experience the joy of the natural world through outside learning. In the age of computers and with the fears parents have for the safety of their children, many miss out on the pleasure of being able to play freely in their local environment. At Footprints it is our ambition to provide our children with the sensory delights that the countryside offers – the freedom to run, to lie in the long grass and look at the sky, the time to stop and examine small creatures and develop a knowledge base and interest on which to build.
Footprints Forest School sessions have proven very popular so far this year. The children love being in the woods, they laugh and chat the whole time we are there and they spontaneously organise their own activities in all areas of learning. They have learned to keep themselves safe; the older children reminding the younger ones to keep away from the edge of the pond and to mind the nettles. We can allow them to run in amongst the trees and play hide and seek without constantly worrying where they are because we trust them to never stray too far from us.
The activities we have planned have included den building, tree climbing, woodland crowns, a mini-beast hunt, looking for animal homes, signs of Spring, a colour search, seed collection, blackberry picking, a wild flower hunt, treasure hunts, leaf collage, a dinosaur hunt, frogspawn watch and many other things but I think what the children enjoy most is to be free to do whatever they wish, to play together, to sit and contemplate, to lie in the grass, to sing, to look for mini beasts, to walk and run on different surfaces, to play imaginative games in amongst the trees and to just be themselves. They come back to the classroom tired but happy, relaxed and with a sense of well being that cannot be achieved in front of a computer or television.