Jungle School programme is an integral part of life at Garden International School (GIS) Early Years Centre (EYC) and Lower Primary Year Groups. We love the fact that we are able to use our KL locality to inspire our children to become ambassadors for nature and to continue building on the skills that are so essential to life in the 21st century.
Implemented since 2014 at EYC along the lines of European ‘Forest School’ concept, this programme encourages communication, questioning, social skills, risk-taking, problem-solving and resilience, all skills closely linked to our school student vision.
‘Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.’ (Forest School Association, http://www.forestschoolassociation.org/what-is-forest-school/)
GIS believes in the same philosophy as above and we run the Jungle School programme with the same aims and ethos.
Held weekly, the Jungle School programme sees 40 early years children excitedly jump onto the buses ready to start their ‘Jungle School’ adventure. On arrival two of the teachers make their way to the location to set up base camp and complete a current risk assessment of the area. Once the children have all arrived at the base camp they are reminded of the programme rules before they are able to go off and explore, investigate and take part in their own devised activities in the setting. Every child is aware of the location boundaries, as the area is clearly marked out.
It is difficult to say exactly what they will be doing, as each week something different might inspire them or they may well have planned something to take part in from their previous visit. The most important thing is, looking around at all the children, they are totally engaged in something – tree climbing, boat making, leaf threading, stream investigating, stick collecting, mud mixing, spider watching, tree height estimating, team game playing – the list is endless. What we can be sure of, is with the high levels of engagement come high levels of attainment. Our skilled team of practitioners know when to step into scaffold and extend learning or just to stand back and observe each child’s individual accomplishments.
The morning at Jungle School programme passes quickly and the children climb back on the buses and back to school, safe in the knowledge that they will be returning soon, ready to take up their next challenge or adventure.
We have seen first hand how much the children get out of Jungle School programme and as the weeks progress they really do gain so many skills in so many areas of learning. We know that Jungle School programme will continue going from strength to strength. Our children deserve the best experiences and this is what we feel that we are giving them at GIS Jungle School programme.