• Forest School

    Learning the Natural Way

  • Questions and Answers
    We already take children outside to play so why do we need Forest School?

    It’s great that you’re already getting children outdoors!

    Forest School differs from other forms of outdoor learning as runs reguarly over a prolonged period of time with the same learners in a wood or natural area. It’s a learning process for both the leader and the learners, and tasks are looked undertaken in small achievable chunks. With high leader to learner ratios, it creates a ‘safe’ place where people can try new things and move slightly out of their comfort zone if they wish.

    Shouldn't children be focusing more on their school subjects rather than playing in the woods?

    Play is the natural way for children to learn. It’s how they make sense of the world and what better way to learn maths than to actually put it in to practice.

    Think about making a tight rope – firstly the children have to use problem solving skills to decide where it will go, then they select their rope and have to measure it between the trees, rememebering to leave enough for the knots too. How high should the rope be? knee high, waist high? who’s is the smallest person? will it hurt them? There are lots of things to consider…

    From this one simple task children hit so many ‘outcomes’ and they have a great time doing it.

    Tree Climbing? Won't the children get hurt?

    Maybe, but it’s unlikely. Part of Forest School is giving the children the opportunity to assess their own risks. If the child starts to try something that may be a bit too risky then we stop, talk about it and look for alternative methods. Sometimes, the child actually knows best.

    The Forest School leader already has thorough risk assessments for all the activities, so although there is an element of risk, it is already fairly low.

    Will my child come back really dirty?

    Probably, but mud does wash off.

  • Principles of Forest School

    What makes Forest School different from outdoor learning?

    • Principle 1

      Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.

    • Principle 2

      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.

    • Principle 3

      Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners

    • Principle 4

      Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.

    • Principle 5

      Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice

    • Principle 6

      Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning