RSI Corporate - Licensing

Reading, writing and mud: the growth of Forest Schools

The Telegraph – Becky Dickinson

” The afternoon sun covers the playground in autumnal light. A group of four and five-year-olds gather around an open fire. The heat isn’t strictly necessary – it’s only September, but it wouldn’t be Forest School without a fire. After a pep talk on not entering the ‘fire circle’ (a precautionary bucket of water is on standby) the pupils from St George’s Infant School in Northam, Devon are let loose to explore the patch of wilderness behind their playground. The transformation is palpable and swift. Suddenly, they are children once more, not pupils – sitting in a circle listening to an adult – but children rolling down grassy banks, hunting for bugs and sliding in mud. This is Forest School – a Scandinavian import that is becoming increasingly widespread in primary schools across the UK. The approach, which was introduced to Britain in the early nineties, involves taking children into an outdoor, ideally woodland, environment to develop confidence and self- esteem through hands-on learning experiences.”(more)

Schools can — and should — teach more than discipline

The Seattle Times – Jerry Large

“Dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline doesn’t require more information or analysis. It requires a will to change strong enough to produce sustained, effective action. Someone said that the other night at a meeting about the pipeline. And a lot of people said what a lot of people have been saying for a very long time, the gist being don’t criminalize kids, educate them. Well, maybe it takes repetition to sink in deep enough to matter. Here’s a definition of the pipeline: “ … the policies and practices that push our nation’s schoolchildren, especially our most at-risk children, out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.” That’s from the American Civil Liberties Union, one of numerous organizations working nationally to fix what’s wrong. Schools went along with the tough-on-crime, no-tolerance attitude that swept politics and the criminal-justice system in the 1980s. The result has been a huge increase in the number of children suspended or expelled, often for classroom behavior that could be dealt with productively if it were treated as a teaching opportunity.”(more)