What is Forest School?
“Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem, through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.”
Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.
- Forest School is a long-term process with frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural wooded environment rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.
- Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
- Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
- Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
- Forest School is run by qualified Forest School Practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
- Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.
One of the key features of a forest school programme is the low adult:child ratio, led by trained forest school leaders. Adults are here to facilitate the learning of each individual child as they choose their own way of exploring, enjoying and learning in the natural setting provided.
This gives adults a rare and wonderful opportunity to see a child somewhat differently than in the usual learning environment: generally an indoor classroom. It affords a similar opportunity for the child to have the adult engage with them in a much more personal and collaborative way. Combined with being in the calming effects of the forest, learning and teaching becomes a shared experience, which, when child led and ultimately child initiated is also a very happy and enriching experience for everyone.
Children are given opportunities to reflect and review their forest school activities, and through personal observations, those adults with responsibility for the child’s learning are given real insight into what makes each child tick: which, for a reflective practitioner, can have really positive impact on classroom practice.