PEN PORTRAIT: AARON CRANMER

I am an Early Years Professional with a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies. I am a qualified teacher and work in a local primary school, within the Foundation Stage. I served as a Royal Marine Commando and I am an experienced Arctic and Cold Weather Survival Instructor. I have a love and passion for all things outdoors.

INTRODUCTION

Contemporary research outlines the benefits of forest schools and the relationship between well-being and the successful development of the child’s concept of themselves as a capable learner. Therefore the proposed study will critically examine the use of forest school interventions as a method of promoting young children’s autonomous self-realisation and peer-interactions. This study will remain grounded in forest school practice within the United Kingdom (UK) by reviewing contemporary literature, particularly relating to previous articles concerning UK forest schools as enabling and potentiating environments                    (Swarbrick et al, 2004; Bond, 2007; Kenny, 2009; Knight, 2009).

The project works directly with children aged between three and five years of age, from a large primary school located in the North Doncaster Local Authority catchment area. The most recent Office for standards in Education (Ofsted) inspection describes this setting as: ‘Outstanding’ (Ofsted, 2010). At the time of project delivery, 435 pupils were on roll with a typical range of students from three to eleven years of age. The Ofsted report further identifies most students as living within the vicinity of the school and also representative of a higher than national average proportion of students eligible for free school meals. The forest school site is located approximately five hundred metres due east of the main school building and is used with the express permission of the local authority, for the purpose of the forest school programme. The site comprises of mature non-indigenous woodland, with a series of rolling features and limited undergrowth.

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