E1. Provide an explanation of three different international approaches to learning. One international approach to learning is Forest Schools. A Forest School is an outdoor education in which the children who attend get the opportunity to visit forest and woodland areas and develop different skills such as, personal, social and technical skills. Forest Schools offer children and young people the opportunity to develop their confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland environment. Forest Schools are also a unique way of building independence and self-esteem in children and young people. “Forest Schools aim to develop a greater understanding of their own natural and man-made environments, a wide range of physical skills, social communication skills, independence and a positive mental attitude, self-esteem and confidence.” Carolyn Meggitt, 2012, Childcare and Education, London, Hodder Education Another international approach to learning is The Maria Montessori Approach. The Montessori Approach is an educational approach created by a woman called Maria Montessori.
Montessori education is focused on a motivated aim: To aid the child’s development into a complete adult human being, comfortable with themselves, the community and everyone around them. The Montessori Method to education is a child-centered educational process based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood. This approach values the human spirit and the development of the whole child – physical, social, emotional, cognitive. “Montessori education offers children opportunities to develop their potential as they step out into the world as engaged, competent, responsible and respectful citizens with an understanding and appreciation that learning is for life”. http://amshq.org/Montessori-Education/Introduction-to-Montessori/Benefits-of-Montessori Another international approach to learning is The Steiner Approach. The Steiner Approach to education was formed by Rudolf Steiner who was an Australian philosopher.
When it came to education, Rudolf Steiner believed in developing the whole person. “The education approach differs from mainstream education in several ways. For a start, Steiner schools put a strong emphasis on the important of spiritual values and social skills and the teaching method is based on a balance of intellectual, practical and artistic teaching”. Physical skills is considered as important too and they use dance to help the children’s development. Steiner as considered color as important especially for helping the children with their imagination skills. In Steiner Schools, children tend to have the same teacher from the age of six or seven until the age of fourteen and in each class there will be a mix of different age groups.
E2. Choose one international approach from E1 and give reasons for your choice. The international approach to children’s learning which interests me the most is the Forest School approach. The reason I have chosen this approach is because
E3. Explain the background to the approach you have chosen and write about it. Philosophers, naturalists and educators in Europe and the UK such as Wordsworth, Ruskin, Baden Powell, Leslie Paul, Kurt Hahn, Susan Issacs and the Macmillan Sisters all laid the foundations for what is known as Forest Schools today. Forest Schools were originally based on a rich heritage of outdoor learning going back to the 19th century. Forest schools originated in Sweden in the 1950’s as a way of teaching children about the natural world. Denmark adopted the idea of Forest Schools and it became an important part of early year’s provision. The Forest School concept was then brought to England in 1993 by the staff of Bridgewater, Somerset after an exchange visit to Denmark. Forest Schools have had a huge impact on children within the UK.
Forest Schools have made differences in children’s confidence; the children have the freedom, time and space to learn and develop independence. Seen differences in their social skills; the children have learned to gain awareness of the consequences of their actions on other children through different activities, for example sharing tools and playing with one another. Differences have been seen in communication; the language development has been supported by the sensory activities children have been taking part in. Seen differences in their physical skills; these improvements were characterized by the development of physical stamina and gross and fine motor skills. Also, differences were seen in their knowledge and understanding; the children and developed interests with the environment and natural surrounding which meant they were willing to learn more and they gained respect for the environment.
E4. Describe the key principles of your chosen approach.
Forest Schools have six main key principles. The first one is ‘A Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.’ This means that the same group of learners should ideally attend a Forest School at least once every other week and continue to do so for a long period of time. A Forest School programme has a structure which is based on the observations and joint work between learners and practitioners. This will show progression of their learning. The early sessions of any programme begin to form physical and behavioural boundaries as well as making their first observations on which to base future programme development. The second key principle is ‘Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world’. This means that the woodland area is ideal for the Forest School practice and the individual needs of learners as it provides them with space and the environment in which they are able to explore and discover.
This links to The EYFS – A unique child – play and exploration. Forest School aims to develop relationships with nature through regular personal experiences in order to develop long-term practices in staff and learners and the wider community. Also Forest Schools uses natural resources for inspiration, to enable ideas and to encourage key motivation. The third key principle is ‘Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners’. Holistic development means to develop everything… their physical, social, cognitive, verbal, emotional, artistic, creative skills and spiritual aspects as well. The Forest School leader/practitioner will also try a link Forest School experiences to the children’s home and school life. The fourth key principle is ‘Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves’.
This means that the Forest School leaders provide the children with sharp tools and allow them to build fires when under supervision; this allows the children to take safe risks and learn how to use these tools properly providing them with lifelong skills. Any Forest School experience follows a Risk–Benefit process managed by the practitioner and the child that is personalised to the developmental stage of the child. This also means that Forest School opportunities are aimed to build on the individual’s motivation and positive attitudes and interests of the children. The fifth key concept is ‘Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice’. This means that a Forest School must be ran by practitioners who hold a minimum qualification of Level 3 Forest School qualification and also must hold a Paediatric First Aid qualification which include outdoor elements.
It means that there must be a high ratio of practitioner/adult to children. The Forest School leader must have working documents which have all the up to date policies and procedures which are required to run a Forest School and which have the correct information for all the roles and responsibilities of the practitioners and any volunteers. Also the Forest School leader is a reflective practitioner and sees themselves as a learner too. The final key principle is ‘Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning’. This means “A learner-centred pedagogical approach is employed by Forest School that is responsive to the needs and interests of learners.” http://www.forestschoolassociation.org/full-principles-and-criteria-for-good-practice/ Also, play and choice is an essential part to the Forest School learning and play is seen vital to the learning and development of children at the Forest School.
Forest School provides motivation for all learning preferences and dispositions. Also reflective practice is a key feature of each session to ensure learners and practitioners can understand their achievements, develop emotional intelligence and plan for the future. Practitioner observation is an important part of Forest School pedagogy. Observations link into ‘scaffolding’ and adapting experiences to learning and development. Scaffolding links to Jerome Bruner and his theory on Scaffolding. “A ‘scaffold’ ensures that children aren’t left to their own devices to understand something. The support is removed when the student is ready, like the scaffolding that supports workers who’ve been constructing or repairing a building, which is removed when construction is complete.” http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/jerome-bruner-scaffolding-and-constructivism-theories.html#lesson
E5. Describe the materials and resources that support the children’s learning in your chosen approach.
E6. Provide information on how these materials and resources are used to promote learning.
E7. Explain the role of the practitioner in supporting learning in your chosen approach. In a Forest School, the role of the practitioner to boost and develop self-esteem and self-belief and confidence by suggesting small, manageable tasks and ensure that they have time and freedom to learn at their own pace without pressure. This supports the children’s learning because they are At a forest school, the role of the practitioner is to constantly model suitable behviour and encourage the children to develop better awareness of their own and other’s emotional needs. The role of the practitioner is to complete all health and safety and risk assessments. They must follow all policies and procedures. The role of the practitioner is to administrate first aid when needed and maintain a first aid it at all times. The role of the practitioner is to count the equipment in and out as well.
All this is done to make sure the children and kept safe from any kind of harm and to maintain the safety and welfare of all the children. The role of the practitioner is to always take into consideration the specific needs of a particular group of children or an individual child and will ensure that every child is respected as an individual, that bullying is not tolerated and that the rules and guidelines are followed. In the event of an emergency they will direct the group to safety. Another role the practitioner must do is complete child observations.
This helps the practitioners to understand how individual children learn and play. Also helps with planning so the practitioner can tailor activities to meet each child’s individual needs. The role of the practitioner is to make sure that they complete planning, ensuring that all the children are getting the best out of their experience and by making sure it is a stimulating and inspiring experience for all children and meet the individual needs of all children and the developmental stages of The Early Years Foundation Stage. The role of the practitioner is to maintain the Forest School site. Ensure environmental considerations are being met by making sure the site is kept clean and tidy after every session at the Forest School.