Forest School is an approach to education that embraces the outdoors as a learning environment. Children are encouraged to develop independence skills, improve their decision making and raise their self-esteem through small achievable tasks.
At Christ Church part of our large playing field is fenced off to create a Forest School site. This area is an exciting natural learning environment in a wooded area, where nature has been left largely to grow unchecked.
Forest School sessions are child led to accommodate individual learning styles. Children are encouraged to make choices, and to follow their own learning. The adult’s role is to teach skills and to facilitate learning. This allows for observation and assessment of the children to plan next steps in learning. Forest School is based on Scandinavian research in to early childhood development and involves engaging children in regular outdoor activities which promote children’s:
- understanding and appreciation of the natural world
- curiosity and creativity
- problem-solving skills
- co-operation and teamwork skills
Many children and young people benefit from and prefer a practical element to their learning. They achieve greater levels of success in this context than in a traditional learning environment. Children are intrinsically motivated outdoors. The natural world stimulates their desire to learn and discover. We all learn better when we have a real interest in what we are doing.
Adults who have been involved with Forest School report significant improvements in independence, self-esteem, social skills and concentration levels.
Parents of children involved in Forest School have reported changes in independence, self-esteem and their child’s social outlook.
At Forest School children will have opportunities to:
- develop personal confidence and self-esteem
- develop team building and social skills
- use and practice a wider range of physical skills than they could easily develop indoors
- develop language and communication skills
- develop independence and risk-taking
- develop a greater understanding about the natural environment.
Forest School takes place in all weathers and all seasons. Most children usually prefer the rain and the mud! Children need appropriate clothing in school each week and as the saying goes, ‘There is no such thing and bad weather, just bad clothing!’