ecoACTIVE’s Forest School helps children improve their confidence, motivation and social skills
ecoACTIVE runs Forest School sessions for children in areas affected by local deprivation in Hackney. In 2019-20 we worked with four primary schools in Hackney, helping a total of 64 disadvantaged children aged 7-11.
We work closely with the schools, delivering twelve session courses for small groups of about fifteen children. With our guidance, teachers select the children who will benefit most from the sessions and fit well with the dynamics of the group. We keep the same delivery team together, so that the children can develop together in a stable and supportive environment.
Sessions are run in parks and outside spaces local to the school. As far as possible, they are led by the children. Activities include: shelter building, bird watching, bug hunting, tree identification, tree and sand-pile climbing, hammocks and rope swings, pond dipping, fire lighting, cooking on a small fire, group games and circle time for children's feedback and suggestions.
Schools we worked with in 2019/20:
- Hoxton Garden Primary School
- Randal Cremer Primary School
- Nightingale Primary School
- Kinsgmead Primary School
These schools are located in some of the most socially and economic challenged areas in England, with some of the highest numbers of lone-parent households. Our Forest School provides a valuable outlet for children who have little access to outside space.
84% of children showed improved social, verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
Children who were struggling to interact socially began to build solid relationships and friendships. Sessions helped them interact, listen to each other and respect turns. Regular team building activities such as building dens and making hot chocolate helped children learn to cooperate, follow instructions and problem-solve together.
69% of children became more engaged and motivated learners.
Forest School provided the children with a different way of learning. This stimulated their curiosity. They engaged with and concentrated on activities like making sparks with fire steels, exploring woodland, identifying mini-beasts and pond creatures or building a shelter.
76% of children gained more confidence.
Most children had never attended Forest School before. In several cases, they had little have access to green space, and spent most time indoors. Forest school helped them gain confidence, making decisions as part of a group. This was evident when children spoke about their wishes and feelings at circle time, in their relationship with the adults and peers and in how they could decide for themselves more easily.
(Note: data is drawn from the 2019/20 report to our funders, Children in Need)
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