Woodland Play Sessions (WPS) are based on the Forest Kindergarten (FK) model. Also called “nature kindergartens” FKs have been established in Scandinavia for over 25 years. Forestry Commission Scotland having been developing their FK Projects over the past 2 years, connecting young children from early years establishments within Central Scotland, with their natural heritage.
FK Projects are unique as they offer young children regular opportunities to learn through play within their local woodland and/or natural setting. Play is child led, child centred and enhanced by the freedom to explore using their multiple senses. These opportunities have a high ratio of adults to children, clear curriculum links and take place in almost all weathers, all year round.
Children learn through play, they learn by experimenting and trying things out. In our busy modern day and technological age however children often lead adult-like and highly-scheduled lives with limited opportunity to choose their own place and time to play. Play opportunities are frequently adult led and directed in play areas designed by adults where children are kept safe and protected from danger. Children’s play however should provide an ability to experience the world as a place of mystery, risk and adventure where they can experiment, negotiate and experience new things. Our Woodland Play Sessions aim to provide our children with an environment that they can shape and develop and which will offer them opportunities to explore, create and imagine their own games and activities, supported, but not directed, by motivated and enthusiastic adults.
FK experiences cater to all children’s learning styles and ages/stages of development, providing your child with a stimulating environment to thrive and learn through real life context. They are beneficial to young children’s holistic development, health and well being. They encourage self-esteem, confidence and perseverance and promote Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Effective Contributors and Responsible Citizens.
Young children need to take risks to learn about and understand their own capabilities. Some activities and sessions, such as den building, toasting marshmallows over an open fire, tree climbing and using tools safely allow them to take risks within a safe and supportive environment and learn persistent and vital life skills