Schools & Pre-Schools
"Every day the children in the class come to school with a bag of treasures like stones, leaves, twigs and flowers they are finding along the way. It is so interesting to see how much they took in and how they see their surroundings now as places to explore. They are looking and hearing so much more clearly. It's a joy." -Knockanean NS, Ennis.
Forest School is a fantastic way to get children excited by the world outside their door. It awakens their natural curiousity and inspires them to look more closely so that they are gently learning more and more about the natural world and their place in it. Spending time outdoors engaging in achievable tasks helps children to gain confidence in their own abilities, to develop independence and emotional resilience, promoting feelings of wellbeing in both the individual and in the group as a whole.
We have a wonderful natural woodland location at Lee's Road Amenity Park, Ennis, where school groups can come and experience the magic of the forest. The woodland is sensitively managed by Clare County Council and is host to many of our native wildlife, including red squirrel, deer and pine marten.
Alternatively, there may be an area in or near your school that would be suitable for Forest School activities and which you could talk to us about using.
Activities carried out with the children include nature connection games, scavenger hunts, den building, bug hunts, clay modelling, nature art, stories and song - all with a hint of magic!
Your school may be able to avail of funding to cover the full cost of a Forest School experience such as that available under Creative Clusters and Creative Schools.
Veronica and Gráinne can visit your school as Heritage in Schools Specialists. Under this scheme, schools can book a series of four visits and get a fifth visit free. To find out more visit www.heritageinschools.ie. To book a visit click here.
Returning to the woods for regular sessions allows the group to settle into the woodland experience, fostering a relationship between them and the natural world around them. This is when the children start noticing what is going on around them and when the learning really begins to happen. A lot of processing takes place between visits, with the new information being more fully absorbed, ready to be built on in subsequent visits.
Over time, the children's senses become better attuned to the woodland environment, they become more physically agile and more confident in their own abilities. Through engaging in supported risky play, children learn to assess risk for themselves helping them to grow into more self-reliant and self-confident individuals.
We recommend that a class group has 6-10 visits to the same woodland location, in line with guidelines of the Irish Forest School Association, of which we are a member.