What is Forest School
The original source of the concept was from Sweden in the 1950’s and spread to other Scandinavian and European countries. The Danish Forest Schools, established for pre-school children (under 7 years) in the 1980’s stemmed from their Early Years Education.
In the mid 1990’s a group of nursery nurse students and lecturers from Bridgewater College, Somerset visited Denmark and witnessed the benefits of the Danish Forest Schools first-hand. They were so inspired that they brought the concept back to the UK and started what is now recognised as ‘Forest School’.
Benefits of Forest School
Confidence Social Skills
Motivation and Concentration
Knowledge and Understanding
Forest School England defines Forest School as:-
‘an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults, regular opportunities to achieve, and develop confidence and self esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a local woodland environment.’
Every Forest School is unique, but the key principles should be the same wherever it takes place.
- Forest School is a long term, repetitive learning process that uses a natural outdoor space.
- Forest School empowers children and young people to take responsibility for their own learning and development.
- Forest School promotes holistic, individualised learning and development.
- Forest School encourages emotional growth, self esteem, confidence and independence.
- Forest School is facilitated by qualified Level 3 Forest School Leader.(FSL)
- Forest School instils a deep respect and awareness for the natural world and reconnects participants to their environment.
How can we apply these principles at Adderley Children’s Centre?
Some points for us to consider…
Forest School is a long term, repetitive learning process that uses a natural outdoor space.
- ‘Long term’- time, regular (once a week) sessions of an appropriate length (1.5hrs) throughout the year where children are allowed the time to revisit, build on and consolidate their learning.
- ‘repetitive learning’- ethos of learning that focuses on processes rather than products and allows learners time and space to develop.
- ‘natural outdoor space’- care and respect for our own site.
- Everyone who uses the site takes responsibility for it.
- Should this space only be used for Forest School only?
- No toys within the space. (other than tools)
- Maintenance /management of space.
- Applying the ‘Forest School Rules’.
Forest School empowers children and young people to take responsibility for their own learning and development.
- Learners have a choice in what activities they undertake.
- Ethos encourages child-led and learning through play, but this needs scaffolding and support from the adult.
- FSL observe learners carefully in order to plan for next steps.
- FSL introduce relevant skills, knowledge and resources based
- on what the learners are interested in and need to develop.
- FSL set up learners to achieve by breaking tasks into small
- achievable chunks.
- FSL focus on process rather than product.
- Tasks are open – no right or wrong way of doing things (exceptions to this are health and safety procedures).