Our Forest & Farm School
At ROEC we are extremely excited to be able to offer something slightly different from other providers! All our programmes, whether you are joining us from a school or as a parent, offers a complete outdoor learning experience where children and adults alike, can come and learn new skills at our base on Wing Hall Farm. As educators we are now understanding and seeing the benefits of Forest school and outdoor education work with young people, and we have combined this with our working farm.
The Forest School concept was created in Scandinavia. It is all about empowering children to explore and experience the natural world through activities in the outdoors. The concept has proven to develop the self-esteem and confidence in children of all ages through activities that involve creativity, working together and child-led learning.
The best location for Forest School is in a piece woodland, outdoors in all weathers, any season, simply being under a canopy of trees has a positive effect on a child’s well-being. We can see the same effect when working with animals too. These experiences create a real sense of joy and can help overcome anxiety and improve well-being all round.
Our sessions will usually be held at our picturesque setting in Wing Hall Farm where we have a small wood, our farm animals including pigs, sheep, horses, and our small animals. We are also lucky to have a large pond and a lake we can utilise for learning too. There is an allotment for the children and a ‘fire pit’ where we gather round for storytelling and learning. Down by the pond there is a jetty where the children can safely paddle and pond dip and explore safely, always under adult supervision.
As children explore the natural habitat and work with our animals, they become more in harmony with nature and learn an understanding of how farms work, bringing a sense of belonging and contentment to our global community.
Forest School is also a place to assess risk in a safe environment. This challenging play helps develop self-confidence, competence, emotional resilience and a sense of independence. Without risk and challenge, children are at risk of losing their sense of aspiration and ambition.
Children are given opportunities to experience challenge through tasks which are both achievable and a challenge. We believe this encourages children of any age to try and persevere at a task which is within their abilities to achieve. All our programmes are tailored to children’s abilities and interests.
NHS guidelines suggest that children under the age of 5 need 3 hours of exercise per day and that it should be a mixture of bone strengthening, muscle building and cardiovascular. The Forest School environment provide a range of opportunities for these needs and well as supporting a healthy growing mind.
All learning is child-led supported by our team. This makes holistic development easier to achieve than in a classroom. It is particularly important for children to have the freedom to choose and express themselves creatively.
What activities will be offered:
During all sessions, we encourage children to take part in the ‘risk assessment’ process. This develops their own awareness and allows them to risk assess when undertaking different activities around the centre.
We also offer 'Farm visits' only where you can bring groups or classes of children to just visit the farm and learn about how the farm operates and of course meet our animals!
There will always be a paediatric first aider present.