We place huge importance in the children having fun and learning through play. To cater for this we have Diggers Den, a private area of woodland at Church Farm where the children can make use of the tree house, sand pit, fairy home, dens, fort and much more besides. Children will have the opportunity to grow their own garden produce, collect eggs from the chickens, enjoy pond dipping and splashing in the stream plus numerous other pursuits. The best part is, they are learning all the time, without even realising it.
Forest School is one of the fastest growing movements in education. Originating in Scandinavia, this play-based, outdoor form of learning has captured the imagination and attention of school and Early Years practitioners over here in the last decade. The Forest Schools Association describes it as “an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment”. As members of the Forest School Association ourselves, and having set up Diggers before the concept really took off in the UK, we couldn’t agree more.
Above all, Forest School activities are FUN. Each task is designed to be available by all, so no child is ever set up to fail. Play is a key part of the learning process – an idea central to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) of the National Curriculum, which places great emphasis on the importance and benefits of well-planned outdoor learning experiences.
We firmly believe that even very young children can benefit enormously from learning a second language. Formal research shows that it improves children’s cognitive abilities, confidence and, ultimately, prospects in todays global society. We also use our French lessons as a way to encourage children to look beyond their own land, and develop a better understanding of the wider world and its different peoples and cultures.