Forest School is a unique educational experience and process that offers children the opportunity to succeed, develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on regular learning experiences and risk-taking opportunities in the woodland environment.
Children engage in motivating and achievable tasks and activities throughout the year and in all weathers, with appropriate footwear and clothing. Children will work with tools, build shelters using both natural materials and ropes and tarpaulin, begin to understand boundaries and behaviour, both physical and social. Children will build campfires, using natural material and develop some cooking skills. Children will grow in self-esteem and motivation, whilst developing an understanding of the natural world.
Children will be offered regular free play during Forest School sessions. Play is an important component of Forest School as it provides children with opportunities to develop creativity, imagination and apply skills taught in play situations. Play develops social, cognitive, physical and emotional skills. Play provides healthy brain development.
Forest School originated in Denmark, originally aimed at early years children. Children who attended Forest Schools, where found to have developed strong social skills and could work in groups effectively. The children had high self-esteem and confidence in their own abilities when presented with new tasks.
Forest School Principles
- Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest Schools.
- Forest School takes places in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
- Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and create learners.
- Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
- Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
- Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.