What I learned at Forest School - Katheryne Cobb


This week is Learning At Work Week and recently, CPD Trainer Katheryne Cobb had the opportunity to experience forest school at Busy Bees Nurseries in Kettering. Here she speaks about why the experience was so impactful:


When you have had the opportunity to experience a great outdoor space for children you really see the benefits right in front of your eyes.

I had the pleasure of spending a morning at a Forest School experience at Busy Bees Kettering. The three words I would use to describe my time with an enthusiastic engaged group of children and staff would be……

Relaxing, exciting and adventure!

Sometimes the benefits of outdoor experiences can be overshadowed because it’s a bit cold, too hot or too wet!  However, I ask you to consider the fact that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just being badly prepared for it.  If we are prepared for the weather conditions and risk assessments have been checked or completed and children and staff have the right PPE, then there is no better place to learn than outside.

It is hugely beneficial for children’s physical, personal, social and emotional development. It really provides opportunities to explore and use their own imaginations and extend and develop a wide rich vocabulary along with obvious physical and mental well-being benefits.

 In the few hours I spent with the group I learnt from the three and four year olds that there are 46 different types of ladybird, that the tree they were climbing was a Willow and that you don’t pick and you don’t lick when you're outside.  These are just a small examples of the confidence and knowledge these children have developed as part of the everyday outdoor experiences.  I was shocked and surprised to see not a single incident or any challenging behaviour from the group.  If anything, I saw how this supported a number of children including those with EAL and SEND.  The forest School lead was able to explain that outside these children’s behaviour and interaction and communication increased. As professor Ferre Laevers states “well-being is the beautiful stage in which children can be when they feel ok, they feel at ease, they radiate and they are open to anything that comes in”

Being outdoors helps impact positively on mental health and can relieve stress and anxiety.  The benefits were clear to see both for the children and the staff that were supporting this amazing outdoor experience. In these difficult unprecedented times, giving children time outside in the garden is even more important than before, and I have learned a great deal being with them.

For more of our learning at work stories, stay with us this week as we celebrate Learning at Work Week!