Meadows Nursery places a high emphasis on outdoor learning and follows the principles of the Forest Education Initiative (FEI) which aims to increase the understanding and appreciation, particularly among young people, of the environmental, social, and economic potential of trees, woodlands and forests.
Forest Schools originated in Europe in the early 20th century as a way of teaching about the natural world. By the 1980s it became part of the Danish early years programme.
As well as regular trips to local libraries, museums and parks, we also visit Blackford Pond and Woods and Johnston Terrace Wildlife Garden. Each group of 8 children go for 6 consecutive weeks and take part in a range of activities linked to the curriculum. Children love going and have lots of fun! Johnston Terrace Wildlife Garden is managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and is located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, within walking distance of the nursery. Blackford Pond and Woods is a short bus journey from the nursery.
The Forest Schools website, www.foresteducation.org, provides additional information you may find interesting. This includes information on safety standards as well as local FEI cluster groups, some of which have created their own website.
As with all aspects of nursery life, the safety and wellbeing of the children is of paramount importance. We have carried out risk assessments for each site, journey and all activities. We also have an Emergency Procedure plan in the unlikely event of an accident and all staff accompanying the children are First Aid trained.
Our intention is to go in all weathers and therefore children need waterproof clothing and suitable footwear. There is a sheltered area where we have a snack if the rain is heavy. Outings are rescheduled if the weather is considered a threat to the children’s safety or wellbeing.
Activities are planned in the usual way and some examples of what we expect to do during a typical trip are:
- Walk through the woods & observe natures’ changes
- Set up camp in a clearing
- Have a Snack & some Free Time
- Undertake a Challenge / Activity (involving eg art, tree ID or knotting)
- Enjoy Together Time (chat, review, story & songs)
We also have a follow up session back in the nursery as soon as possible after the visit. A record of what we experience and learn is kept in our Blackford Pond Floor Book.