Early Years News and Events

Filed in Early Years Newsletters | Posted on October 18, 2019

Important Dates    
21st Oct 2019 Monday Pre-School visit to
25th Oct-1st Nov Friday-Friday Pre-School and School Half Term
4th Nov 2019 Monday Nursery Parents
Evening 6pm
(Appointment only)
9th Nov 2019 Saturday FOSS Firework Night
13th Nov 2019 Wednesday Pre-School Parents Evening 4pm (Appointment only)
15th Nov 2019 Friday Children In Need Charity Day
30th Nov 2019 Saturday FOSS Christmas Fayre 11am
3rd Dec 2019 Tuesday Pre-School Nativity Play 9.30am
10th Dec 2019 Tuesday Early Years Christmas Party and Magic Show
13th December 2019 Friday All departments will
close at 12 noon today Pre-School and SchoolChristmas Holidays
19th Dec 2019 Thursday Nursery Mince Pie and Mingle 2.30-3.30pm
20th Dec 2019 Friday Baby Stay and Play

As part of our extensive Early Years curriculum, we offer some wonderful activities that are in the main led by professionals from outside the Early Years department. Fridays mean only one thing for Nursery and Pre-school, ‘Forest School’, while the babies begin their experiences with familiar staff, exploring the great outdoors. Forest School experiences offer many benefits for the children and encourages development across all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS, 2017).

Forest school originated in Scandinavia in the 1950’s and is based on the philosophy that children’s interaction with nature and the natural world is a very important factor in their development. Forest schools are now fully integrated in the Danish education system and have been in use for three generations. The development of forest schools in Britain began around 1993, when tutors and students from Bridgwater College in Somerset visited Denmark to look at the pre-school system. They were so inspired by the emphasis placed on child-led outdoor learning that they set up their own forest school in the grounds of their college on their return to England. The Forest School Association (FSA) defines forest school as ‘an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. It is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.’

Forest school has six guiding principles:

  • long-term process of regular sessions  with a cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review that is linked to each session
  • takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the child and the natural world
  • uses a range of child-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning
  • aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners
  • offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves
  • is run by qualified forest school practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

At Silverhill School we are very fortunate to have an amazing Forest School leader. Martha, who is highly qualified in this area provides the children (and staff) with an interesting range of activities that capture the principles of forest school and embraces the understanding that playing and learning outside improve children’s physical and emotional wellbeing alongside being hugely beneficial for children with a range of emotional and developmental needs. Our children use natural materials found in the forest school area and enjoy activities such as collecting sticks and leaves, tying knots, making dens, handling tools, using twigs to write in the mud, climbing trees, jumping across stones and building fires. All these things will in time promote self-awareness, motivation, empathy, social skills, communication, independence, physical skills including the development of both gross and fine motor skills, problem solving and risk taking, resilience, concentration, knowledge and understanding of the world around them and self-esteem and confidence.

Babies…take part in a range of simple forest school activities indoors, in the grounds or in their own nursery garden. These activities can vary from Lavender/mint playdough which the children help to make, going around the grounds looking for wildlife or collecting leaves, twigs and conkers, to practicing walking and balancing, building sandcastles in the sandpit or test their gross motor skills by crawling or walking on one of our baby assault courses.

Nursery… love exploring creatures and plants in the forest school area and through games and creative activities build their own relationship with the world around them. We will take part in lots of different types of activities: most of these will involve working with each other, using tools and natural materials, like clay, sticks, leaves, rope and string, collecting leaves and natural materials to enhance our knowledge.

Pre-School…continue to provide and develop the quality forest school curriculum in the wooded surroundings of the school to motivate and inspire the children in challenging outdoor play environments, giving the children independence to make their own choices, to take risks, to be imaginative, to discover and to learn about their world. We learn to negotiate muddy slopes and ground, we look at lots of different species of fungi and we learn that we should always look where we are walking, so that we don’t stand on any plants and damage them. We use the fire in lots of different ways from helping wildlife by making some bird feeders to hang the trees to toasting marsh mallows on sticks yummy!

All activities are planned and based on the child’s interests.