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Image by Adrien Tutin


The Forest School ethos was developed in Scandinavia for pre-school children in the 1950s. Since the mid 1990s, it has become increasingly popular here in the UK with its concept of taking a sustained approach to outdoor learning.

Woods for Learning has adopted the Forest Schools principles and created our own unique blend of Bushcraft and Outdoor Learning activities to encourage, motivate, engage and inspire children through positive nature-based experiences.


Woods for Learning supports the Forest School Association principles.

Throughout the Forest School experience, children develop their skills of teamwork, cooperation, communication and observation.

A typical start to the day involves going over safety rules, setting camp, laying a fire (if needed) and putting up a shelter. 
Getting back to nature is all about understanding your surroundings, so we focus on listening and looking tasks in every session. Children sit quietly with closed eyes and listen to the sounds of nature, discuss what they hear and look at what’s moving around them.

Some children find sitting still very challenging and developing this skill can have a positive impact back in the classroom.

child in netting 2
group round fire

Being outdoors offers opportunities to learn and explore in different ways.

Children will create artwork from items they have foraged in the forest, such as twigs, leaves, stones and mud, they will also use leaves, bark and berries to make dyes.

From Reception to KS2 they learn to use tools, starting with a potato peeler to peel bark from twigs all the way through to using knives and saws for progressively demanding and more complex challenges. The natural world offers so many opportunities for children to explore their creativity, which can't always be catered for in the classroom.

In order to ensure quality, we adopted the PEMS and Leuven Scale to monitor children's progress. We have collated extensive research specifically for Pupil Premium children with evidence identifying improvements in all aspects of learning, behavior and interaction over a 5 week period. Previous OFSTED inspections have commented on the positive impact in children's well-being that Woods for Learning programmes have delivered within the school. It really is amazing what benefits learning in a natural environment can yield.

group exploring
gary pointing at beech tree


Forest Schools is a long-term process of regular sessions; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.

Our adventures takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.

At Woods for Learning, we use a range of hands-on and experience based processes to create a community for wellbeing, development and self-confidence.

Forest Schools aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, independent and creative learners.

Our sessions offer individuals the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment.

Forest Schools are run by qualified Forest School practitioners, who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.


The Forest School ethos developed in Scandinavia for pre-school children in the 1950s and since the mid 1990s has become increasingly popular here in the UK. It's a concept that takes a long term sustained approach to outdoor learning. Forest Schools seek to encourage, motivate, engage and inspire children through positive outdoor experiences.


The founder of Woods for Learning, Gary Marlow has takien many of the principles of Forest School and blended it with elements of Learning Outside the Classroom (LoTC), Bushcraft Activities and Physical Education to create a unique blend of outdoor activities that provide children with the building blocks for unforgettable and exciting new adventures.

With over 20 years experience of working with hundreds of schools, teachers, head teachers, and thousands of children, including those with special educational and physical needs, Gary knows how to create an inclusive impact for every single child that steps into the woods.


Taking life back to nature, by exploring, playing, discovering, learning, and to LIVE.

At Woods for Learning, we believe strongly in education, but that doesn't mean it should just be limited to the classroom.


  • Build and learn to cook on an open fire

  • Climb, explore, walk in the woodland

  • Learn to identify trees and plants and examine the shape, scent, sound and surface of various trees

  • Learn to create shelters

  • Learn about using colours and making art from nature

  • Hunt for mini-beasts and bugs

  • Develop the ability to use all our senses to hear, smell, see, touch and even taste the woodland


Our unique blend of Forest School, Bushcraft, Outdoor Learning ensures that all areas of the curriculum can be used outside of the classroom but through Experiential Learning.

children in group
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