top of page
Forest Schools, Bushcraft and Outdoor Learning: Video

What are Forest Schools?

Woods for Learning supports the Forest School Association principles which are:

Circle 09.jpg

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

Circle 05.jpg

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

Circle 08.jpg

Forest Schools uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.

Forest Schools, Bushcraft and Outdoor Learning: Clients
Circle 07.jpg

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

Circle 04.jpg

Forest Schools offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.

Circle 06.jpg

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

Forest Schools, Bushcraft and Outdoor Learning: Clients

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.

Research in Sweden found and concluded that pre-school children in a forest school setting were more balanced with greater social capability; they had fewer days off sick; were more able to concentrate and had better co-ordination. They played for a longer time, with less annoyance or interruption of each other compared to children in the city. 

Children attending Forest School pre-schools were arriving at school with stronger social skills and a greater ability to work in groups. Generally the children had high self-esteem and confidence in their own capabilities. This was concluded as being as a consequence of being in a pleasant, natural, fun and less stressful environment.

Forest Schools, Bushcraft and Outdoor Learning: Text
rubbings 2.png

What happens at Forest Schools?

  • Build and learn to cook on an open fire

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

  • Create dens, shelters, bridges and sculptures

  • Collect colours from nature

  • Make art from natural products and draw and engrave using natural materials

  • Create a woodland assault course for a squirrel•Hunt for mini-beasts in trees, bushes, deadwood etc

  • Create a bug hotel

  • Climb trees

  • Develop the ability to observe silently -to look and hear what’s happening around them                

All the above as well as English, Maths, Science, DT, PSHE and PE. This environment offers a huge amount of learning outside the class room!

Forest Schools, Bushcraft and Outdoor Learning: Welcome

Throughout the Forest School experience children develop their skills of teamwork, cooperation, listening 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. 

We have a listening and looking task every session. Children sit quietly with closed eyes and listen to the sounds of nature or 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.

Being outdoors offers opportunities for doing things in different ways and on a different scale. Children create art work from twigs, leaves, stones and mud and 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 and create a point, through to using knives and saws for progressively demanding challenges. The natural world offers so many opportunities for learning.

In order to ensure quality, we can use the PEMS and Leuven Scale to montitor children, we recently did data collection of Pupil Premium children over just a 5 week period and we saw improvement in all of them. 

Data for pupil premium and disengaged children

Forest School monitoring sheet using PEMS and Leuven Scale

Forest Schools, Bushcraft and Outdoor Learning: Testimonials
bottom of page