We believe that access to an outdoor environment is as important to a child’s well-being and developmental growth as a conventional classroom setting. Malvern College Pre-School Hong Kong is one of the first schools in Hong Kong to operate a Forest-Beach-School programme, managed by Level 3 certified Forest School leaders. This outdoor programme is built on a philosophy of child-led learning, with a focus on all five senses, and runs in all safe weather conditions.
Nature, the outdoors, and open spaces become the children’s temporary classroom, with educational sessions designed around a theme typically linked to the curriculum. Teamwork, intra- and inter-personal skills are developed through games and group activities such as hide-and-seek or scavenger hunts. Self-esteem, individual practical and intellectual skills are enhanced through supervised activities like shelter building, tool handling or lighting fires.
Forest-Beach School main benefits and features:
- Appropriate clothing: the school offers guidance as to the relevant outdoor attire chosen from a comprehensive list;
- Outdoor classroom: Forest-Beach School takes place in a natural woodland or beach area to develop the child’s relationship to nature.
- Transportation: Classes run every two weeks, with pre-arranged bus transportation from campus to Forest-Beach School learning sites and back;
- Adult-accompanied: Each child is accompanied by a parent or caregiver, making Forest-Beach School sessions a strong bonding experience;
- Holistic approach: Learning experiences are linked to those at home and in school;
- Led by qualified Forest-Beach School practitioners: Staff continuously participate in training to further their skills and to maintain their accreditation;
- Physical and emotional safety: Your child’s safety is paramount, and all staff hold outdoor first aid certification. Together with the accompanying family member, they will ensure the children’s safety and wellbeing at all times;
- Child-centricity: Children take command of their own learning. Teachers provide support and facilitate the child’s learning, but children determine the direction of their own learning following their natural curiosities, interests and passions.
What do pupils learn?
- Children undertake a range of projects and games. By doing so, they learn to think, ask questions and problem-solve, as well as to communicate, collaborate and to lead in small teams;
- Confidence and self-esteem grow through activities such as shelter building, tool handling and lighting fires;
- Children gain an understanding of themselves and a sense of place, feeling part of the natural world, their local environment and the people around them;
- Physical and social skills develop as pupils explore the outdoors in a safe and supervised setting;
- Children learn to develop relationships with others and the natural world, learning about the importance of conservation and of preserving our environment;
- They learn to explore science and nature, e.g. by observing butterflies and other insects, water and ecosystems;
- They gain an appreciation of how to manage risks by wearing appropriate clothing and how to protect their physical and emotional safety;
- Learning in woodland and at the beach, they gain a curiosity to explore and to inquire;
- Forest-Beach School also fosters an appreciation and understanding of nature and the environment.