Forest School is a very exciting addition to the curriculum at Parkside.
Taught from Nursery through to Year 8, every child explores the great outdoors, completing a programme of study that allows a smooth, encouraging and engaging progression towards a balanced set of transferable skills.
The theory behind Forest School is, among other things, to teach children transferable working skills and attitudes that they can take into other areas of their school lives. In Pre Prep, boys learn how to think independently, how to work collaboratively and how to harness our immediate resources; all in our purpose-built Forest School area within our ancient woodland. Through pupil-led learning, enquiry-based questioning and discovery, boys gain an appreciation of and marvel at the wonders of nature. They are out in the woodland all year round, recognising changes in the landscape and appreciating the woods as a place to explore and play. The boys love to get muddy, to try new things, to challenge themselves and move beyond their comfort zone. The outstanding grounds at Parkside allow the younger children to really explore and adventure in a safe, nurtured and exciting way.The principles behind Forest School in the Prep School are exactly the same and build on the fundamental skills that are developed in the younger years. Sessions are taught and assessed under the headings of ‘Identifying’, ‘Demonstrating’ and ‘Participating’. An example would include the opportunities to be able to ‘identify’ the vertical structure of the woodland, ‘demonstrate’ an ability to prepare for, light and maintain a fire in most conditions, and ‘participate’ in problem-solving tasks that require a small group to assume individual roles and stick to them. A lot of the boys’ learning is hidden and comes naturally as they become more confident in their experiences and decision-making in the woods.
Parkside School is looking towards the future, teaching children to embrace, appreciate and protect the environment they live in. A young person who grows up enjoying the natural world will no doubt grow up to love and respect it.