Forest school in Laxey Glen
If you go down to the woods today…
After a successful pilot scheme last year, The Children's Centre has announced a new initiative based in Laxey Glen.
Under the expert eyes of Forest School leaders Vicky Richardson and Chris King, Forest School sees groups of children from across the Island's schools coming to Laxey Glen to to develop confidence and self- esteem, through hands-on learning experiences. By taking part in this child-led approach to learning, children build relationships, develop resilience and learn to manage risk, leading to them having access to the use of fire, saws and knives as well as a host of other woodland tools.
Originating in Scandinavia, Forest School enriches the holistic learning experience for all children; providing them with opportunities to develop skills and flourish through ways the traditional classroom simply doesn't offer. Children of all abilities and backgrounds benefit from these experiences, and it has already led to some very pleasing results.
Chris Gregory, Play and Playwork Development Manager at The Children's Centre oversees the project explains: "Teachers have expressed their delight and surprise as the most unlikely children excel. Children who have identified speech and language struggles feel less pressure in this environment, and, as their confidence improves, so does their speech and language. Children who struggle to express emotion have demonstrated reflective skills, understanding and improved relationships with their peers. Even children who are known for their lack of attention have focused for extended periods of time on interesting tasks and perhaps the most satisfying, yet least surprising, result is that every child thoroughly enjoys it."
Half of the funding for the Forest School this year has been kindly supplied by PokerStars, through their corporate giving programme 'Helping Hands', with the rest from the participating schools. Longer term The Children's Centre plans to develop the project into a training program and starting in 2016 it plans to deliver a recognised Forest School level 3 qualification, which will equip practitioners with the skills and understanding to deliver sessions themselves, and help ensure Forest School experiences can be enjoyed by many more children for years to come.