Rydal Penrhos School

Forest School

“The best education starts in the classroom but it doesn’t end there”

Introduced by the Head of the Prep School, Mr Roger McDuff, and led by Mrs Jude Pyves, the Rydal Penrhos Forest School
(Coed y Plant) makes use of our unique woodland setting to promote an innovative approach to outdoor learning.

The philosophy

The philosophy of Forest School is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences. The Forest School programme originated in Scandinavia and is underpinned by thorough research into the learning behaviour of children at an early age and how best to develop this.

Forest Schools aim to develop:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Empathy
  • Good social communication skills
  • Independence
  • A positive mental attitude, self-esteem and confidence
  • A healthy respect for the natural environment

Rydal Penrhos Forest School focuses on providing a safe, outdoor learning experience where children and young people are encouraged to explore, discover, take suitable risks and learn in a secure area of woodland.

What will your child learn?

What could be a better way for children to learn than being outside and discovering things for themselves? Following their own ideas, working with the mood of the group in a safe natural environment, children are given the opportunity on a weekly basis to discover the joys of the forest.

Each half term there is a new a Forest School theme. Our chosen theme may be based on a personal attribute, such as co-operation or creativity; helping to encourage personal development; or it may be based on a curriculum topic –mathematics, history, art or science; or it may be more overtly about the forest – wildlife, habitats, trees or sticks. Whatever the theme, Coed y Plant offers all the children wonderful opportunities for learning at many levels.

Themes for 2012–13
Our senses
Birds and birdwatching
Co-operation and team-building
Animal homes
101 uses for a stick!
Environmental art

In the Summer Term 2013, the children will be exploring interpersonal skills and learning to co-operate as part of a team, as well as joining in with various environmental art projects. They will be given the opportunity to use different natural materials, to get dirty and to explore their own creativity.

News from Forest School

Coed y Plant itself continues to evolve as Forest School develops. Due to high winds last summer and storms in the autumn, we lost three of our large trees: two oaks and the large beech tree towards the Old Highway. Sad as this is, the effect of this natural damage has been managed effectively to become a source of scrambling and balancing, and to create a seating area. The children have made‘off Wales’ trails with some of the newly sawn branches, they have used other branches as the structures for dens, and they have crawled underneath branches, hidden behind them and jumped off them. The wood shavings have been used as kindling for endless fires, on which marshmallows, damper bread and sausages have all been cooked and enjoyed. The area around the beech tree is still to be transformed and is due to become the basis of a competition for forward-thinking foresters in the Prep School!

The woodland is being managed: more trees and bulbs have been planted and are due to be planted in the hope of increasing the biodiversity of the forest. Trampling feet inevitably damage some plants and habitats, however with increased understanding the children are encouraged to take care where they put their feet and only to pick up what the trees have already dropped. Whilst searching for ‘signs of spring’ in February, the children learned to spot and therefore avoid new shoots, and delighted in the delicacy of the snowdrops.

As knowledge amongst the children develops, they are becoming more aware of other inhabitants of the forest and of their needs. The children in Pre-prep have made bird-seed cake and considered where best to hang it, as well as creating homes for small mammals over the winter. They also spent an enjoyable half hour finding out about the bird boxes, how they were made and where they would best be placed. With this increased knowledge, understanding and appreciation, it is hoped that children will transfer this thinking to all natural environments that they visit and will seek to look after their inhabitants.As they grow up into young adults they will hopefully take with them a healthy respect for their environment.

Jude Pyves, Forest School Leader

Site information

Rydal Penrhos School
Pwllycrochan Avenue
Colwyn Bay
LL29 7BT

Tel: +44 (0)1492 530 155 (Senior)
Tel: +44 (0)1492 530 381 (Prep)
Fax: +44 (0)1492 531 872

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