Explorers Day Care is passionate about outdoor learning; we feel children should be free to access the outdoors come rain or shine. British fell-walker and author, Alfred Wainwright once wrote:
‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.’
We couldn’t agree more! That’s why we have a boot room full of wellies and waterproofs so that we can enjoy the great outdoors whatever the weather.
Learning in the great outdoors
Explorers’ children spend many hours exploring fields, collecting bugs and climbing trees; the opportunity for learning is open-ended. Children’s understanding of the natural world is developed on a daily basis, from watching farm machinery as crops are planted, to later running through fields of corn.
At Explorers, we also have our very own calves to look after. And what a great way this is to develop mathematical skills from a young age: from counting milk scoops, to filling buckets and watching the calves change in size. There’s no better way to learn!
Hello my name is Carl, also known as ‘Farmer Carl’ to the children. I am married to Jenna, the nursery manager and owner. I work on the farm and the children often tell me all about their adventures when I see them out and about on the farm. They are always eager to know what I am doing, and never cease to amaze me with their questions about my machines and the animals.
With two extensive, dedicated woodland areas, we are proud to be able to offer Forest School sessions at Explorers. We are lucky to have three members of staff holding the Level 3 qualification in Forest School Leadership. This means we can lead several sessions a week for all ages, from our youngest Explorers in Babies Room right through to our oldest Explorers in Preschool and Afterschool Care.
What do Forest School sessions look like?
Each session has a group of around 16 children who take part in a 2-hour session in one of our woodland areas. The groups are rotated each half-term, as we believe it is important that all children at Explorers have the opportunity to experience and learn in this wonderful environment.
At each session of Forest School, we build and maintain a campfire with a group of children, embed fire safety and cook using a range of different methods. We also incorporate the use of forest tools, games, exploration, challenges, stories and songs into the sessions. Children are given independent tasks to do during the session, which helps to build confidence and knowledge, such as being responsible for the first aid kit and register.
Forest School is a wonderful learning opportunity for the children to experience the natural world in different seasons. We access the woodland areas at all times of the year, so appropriate clothing is a must!
What do children learn in Forest School?
The principles of Forest School learning are embedded before, during and at the end of each session. Over the course of the sessions, children learn:
- About the values of the forest
- How to respect and care for the environment and all creatures living in it
- How to use and interact with the environment safely
- How to use tools safely and for a purpose
- About campfire safety, including lighting and cooking on the campfire
What skills do children develop in Forest School?
Over the course of the sessions, children will:
- Build a community of respect
- Grow in confidence
- Develop problem solving skills
- Learn to take risks
- Develop a sense of perseverance and resilience as they are exposed to challenging conditions and new experiences
- Develop fine and gross motor skills, coordination and dexterity as they learn to climb, build dens and tie knots
- Develop interpersonal relationships as they explore and discuss the natural environment, join in with games and share personal triumphs
- Learn and help to set out new rules and boundaries, supporting one another in following them
The benefits of Forest School are endless and that is why it will always be part of our ethos and what we do at Explorers.