Forest School

Forest school is a type of outdoor education in which children visit forests or woodlands to learn personal, social and technical skills.

It has been defined as “an inspirational process that offers children regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland environment”. Forest Schools are growing in popularity with more and more schools, nurseries, and holiday clubs in Wirral adding Forest School to their curriculum.

ForestSchool_edit_imagesForest school uses the woods and forests as a means to build independence and self-esteem in children. Topics are cross-curriculum (broad in subject) including the natural environment, for example the role of trees in society, the complex ecosystem supported by a wilderness, and recognition of specific plants and animals. Personal skills are also considered highly valuable, such as teamwork and problem solving. The woodland environment may be used to learn about more abstract concepts such as mathematics and communication.

Confidence - Forest School helps children to grow in confidence as a result of the freedom, time and space they are given in their learning. This allows them to develop and display independence at their own rate.

Social skills - Activities such as sharing tools and participating in games help teach the children to work together as a group. This strengthens their bonds and social ties.

Communication - The sensory experiences provided by the Forest School helps prompt language development which has a positive effect on a child’s self-esteem and is a crucial part of their development.

Motivation and concentration - High levels of interest lead to high levels of attention. Spending time in the woods is exciting for children. It tends to fascinate them which develops a desire to participate and concentrate over long periods of time.

Physical skills - The increase in outdoor activity is bound to have a positive physical impact. Not only does the development of physical stamina improve but also gross and fine motor skills.

Knowledge and understanding - Children develop an interest in the great outdoors and respect for the environment. Encouraging them to develop a relationship with the natural world helps to protect the environment for generations to come.

New perspectives - Forest School isn’t just beneficial to children it is also beneficial to teachers. Observing their class in a different setting allows them to gain a new perspective and understanding of
their students.

Ripple effects - When children really engage with Forest Schools they will take their experiences home to share with friends and family. This will often encourage families to visit their local woodlands more frequently.

Creates a level playing field - Taking children outside of the classroom removes the pressures of academia and allows them to play to their strengths. This is beneficial to children who struggle in the classroom because there is more opportunity for them develop at their own pace.

Enjoyable for the children - Forest Schools are fun! It is educational whilst also allowing children to play, explore and discover. Children who participate in Forest Schools are generally observed to be happier. The fresh air, the excitement, getting mucky – it doesn’t get child friendlier than that.