Six-week block of practice

Learning Objectives:

The Irish Primary School Curriculum outlines that children in First Class should be enabled to:
- explore and experiment with the properties and characteristics of materials in making structures
- make imaginative structures
- look at collections or photographs of natural and built structures and investigate spatial arrangements, balance and outline and how the spaces created relate to the whole
- look at and talk about his/her work and the work of other children
- look at and talk about a local building complex, at a famous building and at visually stimulating artefacts (or slides or prints)

Description of the learning process and activities:

The Forest School (FS) pedagogical approach is based on six principles:

1. FS is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than a one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.

2. FS takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.

3. FS uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.

4. FS aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.

5. FS offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.

6. FS is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

These strand objectives state that children in First Class should be enabled to explore and experiment with properties and characteristics of materials in making structures. They should make imaginative structures to become aware of structure and balance. Each child should become aware that different parts relate to the whole.

The participants kept ‘Forest School Journals’ in which they recorded their thoughts and feedback about the session each week. 

Other organisations involved:

Forest school association

Resources required:

Forest space

More information: 

Murphy, M. C. (2018) ‘“Exploring the ‘Construction’ strand in the Irish Primary School Visual Arts Curriculum through the Forest School approach”’, Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning. Routledge, 18(3), pp. 257–274. doi: 10.1080/14729679.2018.1443481. "

Other remarks:

This is a UK framework with many different case studies across different countries.  

Trainee Forest School Leaders conduct a six-week block of practice and must submit a portfolio of work that is approved by an accrediting body.