Forest School is a learning process that is child-centred and allows for their development and growth through regular sessions. This approach supports play, exploration and supported risk taking and helps students to develop both their confidence and self-esteem through hands on experiences.
About Forest School Education
Forest School education helps their students to develop in a number of ways including socially, emotionally, and spiritually. Learners are allowed to try stuff out and take risks, within reason, to help them better understand the world around them. It aims to help learners become creative and independent as well as building upon their self-belief.
It is a nature-based learning system where trained practitioners help to nurture learner-led discovery and exploration.
Where Forest School Comes From
The idea of Forest School can be traced back to Scandinavia where it began and is seen as a way of life. It arrived in the UK in 1993 and has grown exponentially since then. Outdoor learning in the UK goes back to at least the 19th century with many educators laying the foundations for what is known as Forest School today. However it was the Scandinavian way of life that paved the way for Forest School as we know it today.
A group of nursery nurses from Somerset visited Denmark and saw this way of life and returned to the UK, enthusiastic about implementing this learning in the UK. They started their own ‘Forest School and eventually this lead to Forest School being offered around the UK.
The Forest School Philosophy
There are a few key principles to the Forest School philosophy which are supported by the beliefs of Forest School. The philosophy is that all learners are equal, unique, and valuable and that they are competent and able to explore and discover. They are entitled to take risks and attempt challenges and to initiate their own learning and development. They are supported to help them achieve success and are encouraged and entitled to develop positive relationships with not only themselves but their community and the natural world around them.
Learners are encouraged to make discoveries and use their imagination, be responsible and take care and themselves and others and develop skills along the way.
How To Utilise The Forest School Approach At Home
There are many ways that you can try the Forest School approach at home. There are a number of great websites which offer particular activities that you can try at home with your children such as den building, bug hunts and sensory creative play. Many of these require little to no expense or equipment which make them a great option if you are just starting to introduce the Forest School approach into your lives.
You can make your garden an extension of your child’s forest school experience with a little imagination. After all, Forest School is nature based so spending time outside doing activities is key. An activity that encourages them to use all their senses is a great idea – encouraging them to feel for different things, look and hear different things and even smell different things. There are many fun and creative activities that you can try at home to enhance your child’s forest school experience at home.