Child Development students go to Forest School

The inquisitive nature of some of our Child Development students has led to a mutually beneficial partnership for Millthorpe School, Wild Things Family Forest School and local children and parents.

A group of Year 11 students who are all studying towards their qualification in Child Development, noticed that a forest school session was regularly taking place on the school site with young children from the local area including many from Scarcroft Green Nursery. Determined to get involved they begged Mrs Marley, Head of Child Development to find a way for them to take part.

The Wild Things Family Forest School, run by qualified Forest School Leader Emma Hill, gets children aged 18 months – four years and their parents outdoors to explore, develop their imagination and be creative. For Mrs Marley and the students, Wild Things presented an ideal opportunity for some of the Child Development students to undertake a child study for their final coursework. Four students, Charlotte Coates, Lauryn Atkinson, Charlotte Hartley and Emmie Slater, took up this fabulous opportunity and have all had glowing feedback from Emma.

Mrs Marley said “We often place our students with local nurseries to complete their child study, which works really well, but the Forest School presented a fantastic opportunity for some of the group.

“Each student chooses a child to work with and then makes observations on the child in a particular setting, specifically focusing on how play can encourage the development of a child. Throughout the study they must then produce their own activities for the child to take part in, so the Forest School has provided many different opportunities, including using binoculars, magnifying glasses, mud painting and den building.

“Emma has told us she’s loved having the girls, as have the parents and carers and Scarcroft nursery staff. I’m told the girls were extremely helpful, polite, well-mannered and very eager to get stuck in! I’m really proud of the students; they’ve all done incredibly well in their child study coursework. Three of them have achieved a Level 2 distinction*, the highest mark available (and equivalent to an A* at GCSE) and the other achieved a Level 2 Merit, equivalent to a B grade – fantastic results!”

The students who took part got a great understanding of play activities and how by ‘thinking outside the box’ or keeping things simple, this can be very effective in developing a child. They also learnt a great deal about safety when working with children as a campfire was lit after each session and the children could pour themselves a hot chocolate and toast marshmallows on the fire.

The Year 10 Child Development group are currently planning some fundraising ideas to supply the Forest School with some more resources. Mr Bull, Head of DT is also hoping to involve his construction class in making certain items such as a mud kitchen.

The Forest School takes place on the school grounds by the pond at Millthorpe every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Further information can be found here http://www.wildthingsyork.co.uk