Forest School is a play based, child initiated approach to learning suitable for all ages. Learning is achieved through playing and exploring as well as teaching skills and knowledge.
Regular Forest School offers children opportunities to achieve and develop confidence, self-esteem and promotes positive mental well-being. Sessions are planned loosely based on the interests of the children and development needs; we support free-play opportunities and encourage natural curiosity and scaffold this learning through deeper questioning and experiences.
The Forest School approach is that of a holistic one and aims to develop the whole child. Many Forest School activities provide opportunities to problem solve and develop resilience, this approach helps children celebrate their journey rather than just the outcome.
Some activities in Forest School have a certain element of risk, children are taught how to manage these risks, and this helps children to become confident independent learners. As Forest Schools continues throughout the year, children learn about the different challenges this can bring and how to overcome these barriers.
Treetops Forest School Ethos
We are passionate about getting children and carers outdoors to explore, develop their imagination, be creative and experience some good old fashioned play!
We offer a variety of sessions to suit all and we believe that a mud kitchen is not just for toddlers and you're never too young to learn how to use a tool safely.
Hi my name is Siobhan Bamforth and I set up Treetops Forest School in 2018. I have two children Olivia and Grace. My early career was in the financial world which I left shortly after having Grace. I began my journey working with children in the school nursery. I remember receiving my first pay cheque, granted it wasn’t as generous as my banking salary but I actually felt like I was cheating the school. I couldn’t believe I was getting paid for something that I found so enjoyable. Each day I went to work, none of the days the same, each of them filled with laughter and amazement provided by little people, I knew then that working with children would become a vocation not just a job. I loved the concept of learning through play, watching children adapt, develop and strengthen their skills and learning, seeing children who struggle to sit and take things in on the carpet come to life when driven by success to develop a bridge to cross a puddle or dig for gold.
Over the years my confidence grew, and I started working across the key stages at school to deliver outdoor learning to the rest of the school. Granted these lessons were not child initiated like in early years, but they were still loved by the children. I think one of the main reasons for this was that we had removed the walls and it was hands on. Children were tasked to find angles outside, to imagine they had shrunk to micro size and navigate themselves through the dangerous terrain, this stimulated the children’s imagination and opened up their senses which enabled them to produce the most amazing stories. As time passed, my passion for outdoor learning grew and I was keen to get back to my original love of child-initiated learning. I began to research Forest School; I was fortunate to have a head teacher who shared my passion.
I was hooked, I had found a way for not just early years to enjoy learning through play but a way for this to be acceptable even into key stage two! I was keen to get started on my Forest School journey as soon as I could, and I completed my training in December 2017. The children loved it as much as me. Seeing them persevere to light a fire using a flint and steel and then cook for their friends was something that was new to them. When I think of Forest School so much springs to mind, perseverance, resilience, skill, risk, success, problem solving, friends, laughter, freedom and even slowing down. My children were growing up and they didn’t want to spend every waking minute with me anymore. I began to think about what I could do with my spare time and in March 2018 I took my first steps and I delivered my first holiday club. I was super nervous, but it was a fabulous success and I think the children loved it as much as me. So very slowly my business is growing, I now offer much more than just holiday clubs and I still work at school four days a week! Did I mention that I like to stay busy? My role at school adapted again, yes, I still teach Forest School in school in the summer term but the rest of the year I work as a Learning Mentor. In 2019 I completed my Thrive training, which promotes positive mental health and emotional well-being for children. So that’s me ….. I hope you enjoy browsing through my website. It’s in the early stages and I’m sure it will develop over time. Did I mention that I like outdoors so sitting in front of a laptop fiddling with images and text is not my passion so I may get distracted or escape into my own little world. I think that’s why I can relate to children so well. So, keep checking and over time my site will evolve!
The Forestry England Bishop Wood site is located just off Bishopdyke Road. We have our own private car park which is accessed through the metal gate on Hammersike Road.
Bluebelle Wood is a privately owned woodland in a small North Yorkshire village outside Knaresborough. Bluebelle woodland is located on Hill Bank, Arkendale.
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