Children at Walsall College’s Little Professors Nursery enjoyed an autumn afternoon with a difference when they attended a Forest School session hosted by early years students.
Bug hunting, hedgehog making and a Gruffalo story slice were all on the timetable for the three-year-olds taking part.
The college developed the Forest School in summer 2021 as a way of training their early years students to deliver an outdoor education model that encourages children to develop personal, social and technical skills in outdoor, natural spaces.
Keri Birch, Forest Schools Leader and Advanced Practitioner said: “Our students and the Little Professors group enjoyed making friends as they went out exploring and did activities together.
“It was an excellent way for the students to put into practice everything they’ve learned so far about keeping children under their care engaged, safe and comfortable, while ensuring they have fun while learning.”
Vicki Armstrong, Curriculum Manager for Early Years added: “Forest School is an innovative addition to our early years teaching and learning provision because of the way it enhances the independent thinking and resilience of young children. The practitioner skills of our students also improve because they have full exposure to an alternative learning discipline favoured by many early years professionals and representatives across the UK.”
For student, Tiffany Simmonds, the Forest School session was a major opportunity to work with children.
“I completed my Level 1 qualification last year but Covid prevented me from completing a full placement,” she explained. “This was my first real time taking the lead with some children, guiding them around the school area, encouraging them to take a closer look at anything that attracted them and helping them discover new things.”
Student, Tasfiyah Anjum added: “It feels good to be doing something different. Forest School is another way for us to see how children all learn and grow at their own pace. It was important to us that all the children had a good time so we were happy to achieve this.”
All of the college’s Level 1, 2, 3 Early Years and T Level Education and Childcare T Level students will be working in the Forest School throughout the year.