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Learning and exploring

by Michael Ford last modified 15 Jan, 2021 07:00 PM

In this mainly rural Diocese, schools and parishes often work together in ways that make the most of the local area, foster faith and learning, and offer suitable challenges.

St George’s Church of England School in Langton Matravers has set up a Forest School with activities in the Community Woodland and Orchard, as well as on the nearby school playing field.

The Forest School setting provides a safe environment for the children to learn and explore. Activities take place throughout the year and in all weathers. Wellies, fleeces and coats are a regular part of the day at St George’s!

The Forest School sessions are currently led by Revd James Mercer, Associate Minister in the Benefice of St Aldhelm. James is a qualified Forest School Practitioner.

He says:

"The Benefice of St Aldhelm has ‘enjoying and celebrating the beauty of the natural world and being passionate in safeguarding the integrity of creation’ as part of its vision statement. Setting up the Forest School in Langton Matravers, in partnership with the village school, is a natural outworking of this."

The Forest School concept originated in Scandinavia. Since being adopted in the United Kingdom, the approach has been used to deliver learning programmes to groups from pre-school age to young adults and across all abilities.

Recent studies have highlighted some of the many benefits of outdoor learning for young children, including:

  • Higher levels of conversational language
  • Greater independence
  • Improved health and sleeping patterns
  • Greater physical competence and agility
  • Improved time focus on activities and more concentration
  • Greater understanding of nature and the environment
  • Improved social skills, involvement and initiative

All the pupils at St George’s will have regular access to the Forest School programmes.

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