An inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults regular opportunities to achieve, and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland environment." (Forest Education Association, 2005)
What is Forest School...?
Based on the Scandinavian model of outdoor learning and play, Forest School recognises the importance of regular contact with nature from an early age. As young people become more disconnected with the natural world to the detriment of their physical and mental health, behaviour, wellbeing and of the environment, Forest School offers children the chance to play, learn and develop at their own pace in an outdoor setting.
A Forest School differs from traditional Outdoor Learning in a number of ways;
- Forest School focuses on the process rather than the outcome.
- Groups are smaller with a high adult:child ratio.
- Sessions are lead by qualified Forest School practitioners.
- Groups meet regularly.
- Sessions are primarily child-led/play based.
Based around a central camp, children are offered appropriately challenging and achievable tasks that aim to build confidence, skills and independence. From climbing trees, building dens to learning how to light a camp fire safely, Children use tools, play, explore, create, negotiate, work as a team, understand the natural world and grow in confidence and self-esteem .
Playing outside is important in so many ways. Through regular Forest School and outdoor play sessions children can advance their language, communication, imagination, physical, problem-solving, cognitive, social, emotional and creative skills – as well as benefits to resilience and self esteem. To top all that off - being outdoors promotes a healthy lifestyle too.