So you may be thinking what exactly is a Forest School?
In a nutshell Forest Schools take learning outdoors for a part of the day. This may involve exploring the woodland as a group and collecting treasures, building a den, cooking on a fire, climbing trees or simply using the space to provoke curiosity and creative storytelling. We have regularly found dragons, fairies and elves in our Forest School!
The development of Forest Schools began in 1993, and is based on a Scandinavian idea that recognises the importance of children’s contact with nature.
Here are just some of the benefits:
Forest School helps children to grow in confidence as a result of the freedom, time and space they are given in their learning. This allows them to demonstrate independence at each individual child’s rate.
Activities such as sharing tools and participating in play help teach the children to work together as a group, which strengthens their bonds and social ties.
The sensory experiences provided by Forest School’s helps prompt language development. Improving communication skills has a positive effect on a child’s self-esteem and is a crucial part of their development.
Motivation and concentration
High levels of interest lead to high levels of attention. Spending time in the woodland is exciting for a child. It tends to fascinate them which develops a strong will to participate and concentrate over long periods of time.
The increase in outdoor activity is bound to have a positive physical impact. Not only does the development of physical stamina improve but also gross and fine motor skills.
Knowledge and understanding
Children develop an interest in the great outdoors and respect for the environment. Encouraging children to develop a relationship with the natural world will help in protecting the environment for generations to come.
Forest School isn’t just beneficial to children it is also beneficial to teachers. Observing their class in a different setting allows them to gain a new perspective and understanding of their group.
When children really engage with Forest Schools they will take their experiences home to share with friends and family. This will often encourage families to visit their local woodlands more frequently.
Levels the playing field
Taking children outside of the classroom removes the pressures of academia and allows them to play to their strengths. This is beneficial to children who struggle in the classroom because there is more of an opportunity for them to learn at their own pace.
Enjoyable for the children
Forest Schools are fun! It is educational whilst also allowing children to play, explore and discover. Children who participate in Forest Schools are generally observed to be happier. The fresh air, the excitement, getting mucky – it doesn’t get child friendlier than that.