How does it benefit my child?
Forest School is an outdoor learning approach that uses a woodland setting. It is child led and follows the interests of the child.
Children are stimulated and intrigued by outdoor environments, this taps into a child’s natural curiosity. Children who play in natural environments undertake more diverse, creative and imaginative play.
Research has shown that Forest School:
- encourages motivation
- increases self-esteem, self-confidence and self-belief
- helps development of communication & language skills
- encourages exploration of social relationships and development of social skills
- encourages team building skills
- encourages personal responsibility and independence – e.g. making informed choices, using initiative to solve
- problems, learning to evaluate risk
- gives an understanding that improves the relationship with the outdoors
- gives ownership and pride in the local environment and respect for natural environments.
- In addition your child will benefit from:
- increased oxygen = increased brain functions
- increased vitamin D production
- gross motor & fine motor movement/skills & physical exercise
- reduced stress from being outdoors through reduced Cortisol (a stress chemical in the body)
- play outdoors increases the speed of messages between all parts of the brain and nervous system
The History of Forest School
The development of Forest School began in the UK in the mid-1990s; it is based on a Scandinavian idea that considers children’s contact with nature to be extremely important to their development.
Scandinavian Forest Schools were developed in the 1950s and focused on teaching children to explore themselves in the natural world. In the 1990 in particular British childcare & education workers visited these Scandinavian ‘Forest Kindergartens’ including nursery-nursing students & tutors from Bridgwater College (Somerset), who visited Denmark in 1995 to see the programme there. They decided that the approach was appropriate for use in Britain and considered how to apply what they had witnessed to childcare provision in the college’s Early Years Centre.
Forest School in UK
There is an increasing interest in the UK leading to an increased number of Forest Schools. Some are independently run, while others are supported by local education authorities.
Like many independent Forest Schools, we are part of the Forest School Association (FSA). The FSA has guidelines on Forest School provision and support for Forest School Leaders.
For more information visit: https://www.forestschoolassociation.org/what-is-forest-school/