What are Forest Schools?
Woods for Learning supports the Forest School Association principles which are:
Forest Schools is a long-term process of regular sessions; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
Forest Schools takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
Forest Schools uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
Forest Schools aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
Forest Schools offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
Forest Schools is 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.
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.
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
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!