Forest School originated in Scandinavia and was bought to the UK in the early 1990s. Sessions are always child led (to foster independence), long term (to build trust and relationships) and outside (to gain the many physical and emotional benefits from being in nature). The Forest School ethos aims to promote students’ confident, social skills, sense of self-worth and emotional wellbeing in an outdoor environment. Pupils are not taught, but are encouraged to find things out for themselves through play i.e. games, stories, creative expression and sharing. Through play the child develops their initiative and imagination (problem solving), learns resilience and resourcefulness (perseverance and the determination), how to give and ask for help and support from peers (emotional intelligence and teamwork) and how to appropriately self-manage risk in an increasingly risky world.
In Forest School all children are given the opportunity to access, experience and enjoy learning while working in the outside environment. We take the “classroom” outside and use the beautiful surroundings, weather and sounds to enhance their learning visually, orally and sensually. This holistic approach encourages children’s imaginations, build’s self-esteem and creates the desire to understand, learn and respect the natural world around them. The children are in a safe environment where they can succeed, create and use Maths and English skills without them even realising it! Through exploration and discovery the children are able to enjoy and self-initiate their own learning.
During Forest School sessions children are able to take calculated risks in a controlled environment. They learn cause and effect and what may or could happen. They are given the opportunity and responsibility under supervision, to use tools and help be part of a team, creating a fire to keep them warm and cook food. Equality, achievement and self-belief help children to return to the classroom feeling that they can accomplish and succeed in what they do. Every child is valued and their input is vital; we work as a team and they are able to respect and treat each other fairly and as equals. For more information see the Forest School Association website at www.forestschoolassociation.org