Lower Farm is proud to be part of Walsall Children’s University.
Walsall Children’s University is part of a national organisation that provides children aged 7 to 14 years with exciting and innovative learning activities and experiences outside normal school hours. It celebrates achievement and rewards participation through certificates. It raises the aspirations of children and aims to develop the understanding that learning can be the satellite navigation to better places in life.
Walsall Children’s University works by validating after school and lunch times clubs which children can attend and they ‘bank’ hours in their own personal passport. These hours turn into rewards in the form of certificates at different levels. The first level is undergraduate with the children earning certificates at bronze (30 hours), silver (65 hours) or gold (100 hours) level. The children can continue to earn certificates up to doctorate level. As with an adult university these certificates are presented at a graduation ceremony, which parents can attend. The children wear ‘caps and gowns’ and certificates are presented by a member of Walsall Children’s University.
We offer a wide range of clubs in school outside of normal learning hours which have all been validated. Children who attend these clubs are able to build up hours in their passports.
Forest school was initially introduced to Lower Farm Primary school in 2015. We have an exciting forest area for the children to explore which we are always looking to develop and improve. Our forest has lots of trees which the children love to climb, we have built a permanent fire circle, our older children designed and made a mud kitchen using items found from around the school site, one of our forest groups made a small pond area to encourage pond life to our forest and for all other children to enjoy. We also have a permanent shelter which can provide some protection from the elements so that we can enjoy the forest in most weather conditions.
The provision has been extended from primarily being used for early years, into a whole school extracurricular activity which the children can access during the afternoons in year groups and also we offer an after school session, with a small charge, for year groups throughout the academic year.
Forest School offers a unique educational experience using the outdoor environment of the forest as a classroom. It provides the children with different kinds of activities that they may never experience in their usual routine. Some of the activities include: shelter building, planting, tool use including bow saws, pen knives and loppers, fire building, cooking different foods on the fire such as s’mores, hot dogs, quesadilla’s. Children are given the opportunity to experience the outdoor environment, to learn about responsibility and decision making by doing their own self-risk assessing and maintaining the forest area.
Forest Schools influences education in the following ways: