Forest School is about regularly getting children into the outdoors where they can set their own agenda and develop their creativity and emotional and physical stability in a safe environment. It arose from a study of the Kindergartens and nurseries in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries where being close to nature and playing outside is integral to a child’s education.
Over the last 20 years it has developed enormously and is now offered in hundreds of schools across the country and to a wide variety of groups of all ages and abilities
Activities such as Cooking on campfires, den building, mud play, nature trails, seasonal art and crafts, using woodwork tools and tree climbing aswell as storytelling, games and poems are used according to the age and stage of the children. Forest School sessions begin with small manageable activities which allow the children to explore the space. As they build in confidence the tasks become more challenging.
Most importantly children are encouraged to make their own choices about activities and engage in free play which may come directly from the activities or from themselves.
Through regular sessions in the same woodland site Forest Schools aims to:
- Build a child’s confidence and self-esteem by providing small manageable tasks each week that challenge and encourage children
- Encourage curiosity and respect for the natural world which can be carried through their life and passed to others.
- Allow children to play in a safe but wild environment and build on their skills week by week.
- Enhance co-operation between groups and individuals through working together in a variety of group situations.
- Allow children to take risks and make choices
- Be fun and memorable