30th September 2020 — A new Forest School practitioner and Year 1 teacher has been appointed by St Joseph's In The Park. John Mould comes from Woolenwick Infant & Nursery School. He believes there are huge mental health benefits to outdoor learning. "The world outside the classroom offers a wonderful opportunity to play and learn in a stimulating environment and helps children to gain knowledge and understanding of the environment, sustainable living and the eco-system they live in."
As a qualified Forest School practitioner it is his aim to ensure that the varied natural resources in the school woodland are used to stimulate creative thinking, problem solving and skill development from an early age. Forest School takes a key role in the curriculum and the school places enormous value on the children being able to spend as much time outside and in the fresh air as possible. The school is fortunate to have woodland areas and extensive grounds in a parkland setting. Starting from Nursery and Reception age, the children's minds are ready to be 'flooded' with experiences that just cannot be taught in the classroom. The children learn early movement skills such as climbing trees safely and managing their own risk, whilst progressing up to lighting fires, roasting marshmallows, den building, knot tying, wood cutting and whittling. They can even use equipment such as saws and drills that in some cases, children would only access in secondary education.
"Providing opportunities to develop skills in co-operation, communication, problem solving, risk taking and leadership are all part of a child's development and outdoor learning facilitates this in spades," concludes John Mould.