So what is Forest School?
Forest School is a long-term approach to education, for children, young people, families and adults, that maximises the benefits of learning in the outdoors. Whilst its roots are planted firmly in our best understanding of the theory of how children learn, its practice puts the learner at the heart of their learning experience.
From this fundamental platform, Forest School offers children and young people the opportunity, over repeated visits, to engage with the rich natural diversity of the woodland environment to help build confidence, sensitivity, resilience and curiosity. Forest School encourages children to explore their own innate learning in the richest classroom we have – the outdoors.
We have decided that we will also be hosting this brand new way of learning and plan to have Forest School sessions for all our children in the Early Years.
We will be adopting a Forest School Ethos whereby:
Children need more risk
They need to be more active
They need more independence in their own learning
Need to play outside more often
They need to think outside of the norm
Children need real life experiences
They need to connect with nature
The ethos of Forest School is based on a fundamental respect for children and young people and for their capacity to instigate, test and maintain curiosity in the world around them. It believes in children’s rights to play; the right to access the outdoors (and in particular a woodland environment); the right to access risk and the vibrant reality of the natural world; and the right to experience a healthy range of emotions, through all the challenges of social interaction, to build a resilience that will enable continued and creative engagement with their peers and their potential.
Forest School is based more on the process of learning than it is on the content – more on the ‘how’ than the ‘what’. This means that genuine Forest School practice steps boldly out of the shadow and limitation of ‘planned activities’ and ventures collaboratively into the realms of the unplanned, unexpected and ultimately unlimited. Children and young people are given encouragement to direct their own learning – this often requires catalysing on the part of the Forest School leader either through stimulating play in the outdoors or through ‘scaffolding’ a child’s learning, but mostly through simply observing how children are in the outdoors.
Significantly, and on many levels, a woodland environment is central in supporting this very dynamic approach to learning: the passage of time, from the changing of the seasons, to the contemplation of an ancient tree; the dynamic nature of an outdoor environment – an infinite source of smells, textures, sounds and tastes; a range of visual stimuli from near to far, high to low, very big to very small; and the infinite layers of historical, cultural, spiritual and mythological significance that speak of our deep relationship with trees and woodland through the ages.
We are really excited about our new adventures and look forward to sharing our Forest School journey with you all over the next few months!
Follow the links below to find out what we have been doing during Forest School.