What is Forest School?
Forest Schools are a unique approach to outdoor learning and play. Much research details the benefits of outdoor play for children (and adults who care for them) stress is reduced and also long term health benefits too; behaviour improves self-esteem is higher, children are happier and have higher resilience to stress later in life.
Forest School is not just ‘outdoor play but a long term learning process where children learn about themselves, nature, the environment and how to manage and assess risk through both planned and spontaneous play experiences. Therefore, the children benefit more from regular sessions over a longer period. It is an all-weather, all season activity. In summer children can experience the feel of a hot sun as well as warm rain; they might explore water and the effect it has on dry dirt. In winter they might experience ice or snow and in spring/autumn muddy puddles, fallen leaves or windy days.
What sort of activities happen at Forest School?
We have a work shop based environment (mud kitchen, loose parts, natural crafts, snack bar, story den, climbing web, tool area etc) where children can self-select what they would like to do. We believe free play is of great importance to a child’s learning and therefore produce a safe environment for them to take risks and explore their own ideas. We introduce tools and using fire lighting equipment as well as cooking on an open fire. Children develop in a natural way climbing trees, making mud pies, building dens and learning about nature, from the real thing.
Forest School Leader
Emma worked in Early years for 20 years She has a BTEC in Early Childhood Education, BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies and Early Years Teacher Status as well as her Forests School level 3. In the past she has worked in all areas of Early Years from Nanny to a Nursery Manager for 10 years. She has a great passion for Forest School and enjoys seeing how much young children can learn and develop in all areas in the great outdoors.