The Forest School programme at Meadowside School aims to provide accessible outdoor activities where children and young people with a range of different disabilities can learn in an outdoor environment. The young people will be offered chances to access a natural environment where they will be able to engage in free play opportunities, team games, construction, craft and sensory activities amongst other things; whilst developing their independence and communication skills, leadership and self-management skills and work with, or alongside others at their own pace.
Statistically, UK teenagers are more likely to encounter harm, through activities which should be low risk, such as crossing the road, than their European peers. This is likely to be because of lack of exposure to, or protection from activities like tree climbing, during childhood. Activities which include low level, and controlled risk, teach young people how to judge risk and manage themselves accordingly. The Forest School environment allows young people to access these opportunities safely.
The Forest School programme at Meadowside is underpinned by a thoroughly risk assessed yet relaxed approach, where staff are available to guide learners as required, but prefer to allow and encourage self-learning and importantly, self-management. This approach supports young people to be resilient and self-reliant.
By being given regular opportunities to interact with the natural world, Forest School participants will develop a positive relationship with the environment whilst growing in confidence and self-esteem.