The Forest School sessions this year have been coordinated to include a variety of bushcraft skills in conjunction with team building and problem solving exercises. The bushcraft skills have involved learning how to effectively use a number of different tools amongst them Bow Saws, Billhooks and whittling knives as well as flint and steel. The skills with these tools were developed through a series of sessions that culminated in students having created their own camping mallet from the branch of a tree.
Whilst learning how to use new tools is a worthwhile experience in its own right, it is the softer skills being developed that make forest school sessions a valuable part of the curriculum. Risk taking is something we encourage in the Junior Section and, whilst the environment is made as safe as possible, the independent use of sharp tools certainly develops a sense of that for the girls! Use of each tool requires patience and practice to be effective and the skills being learned are not easy and require resilience.
As well as tool use, the teamwork scenarios and goals given to the students provide opportunities for demonstrating leadership; by example, vocally or by quietly supporting others. All of these skills are transferable into the classroom and how this can be done is discussed at the end of each session – usually over a well deserved hot chocolate!
Mr S Rowley
Director, Junior Section