The Director of Activities at Moulsford Prep explains the benefits of Forest School, and why all schools should take up outdoor learning

More and more schools are appreciating the benefits of outdoor learning and realising the value of getting children outside. Children don’t always learn best in a classroom environment and offering practical learning in nature can help keep children stimulated and physically active.

At Moulsford Prep School we place enormous value on our boys being able to spend as much time as possible in the fresh air, both at work and at play. We are fortunate to have plenty of outside space and we encourage staff to use it at every opportunity, in any lesson. Being outside should not just be reserved for sporting pursuits.  

There are naturally huge mental health benefits, especially for children and pre-teens. The pressures of teenage life mean that children are sometimes in a rush to grow up but the power of being able to cut loose and simply be a child again should not be underestimated; the great outdoors truly enables this.

One of the boys’ favourite activities is Forest School, with each boy having the opportunity to explore and learn outdoors (including an overnight camp for our Year 8 boys) during their time at Moulsford. Our Pre-Prep boys visit Forest School weekly in their year groups.  

The woods at our two Forest School sites are about more than just fun. Forest School enables the boys to immerse themselves in open-ended learning opportunities. Lighting fires, roasting marshmallows, den building, knot tying, wood cutting, whittling, making bows and arrows and drinking hot chocolate are all part of the delights the boys enjoy, not to mention playing with Bosun, the Forest School dog. 

The boys learn to climb trees safely and manage their own risk on the rope swing. They build their skills in cooperation, communication, problem solving and leadership. The activities they pursue foster self-confidence, resilience and perseverance. 

In an age when climate change and protecting the world in which we live are top of the agenda, learning outdoors gives children the chance to gain knowledge of the environment and sustainable living.

The Moulsford Extra-Curricular Activities programme is a vital part of school life. The river offers multiple water-based opportunities including sailing, kayaking and paddle boarding and last term we had over 80 boys on the river weekly. Other popular outdoor choices include fishing, photography, gardening, cyclo-cross and geocaching. We even had a group litter-picking in the local village giving them fresh air and a sense of community spirit at the same time.

At Moulsford there’s something for everyone with the aim of finding that elusive activity that ignites a spark in every child beyond the classroom.

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