What is Forest School?
Forest School works with 6 key principles in mind:
Forest School is a long term, repetitive learning process that uses a natural outdoor space. It is a specific ethos of learning that focuses on processes rather than products and allows learners time and space to develop at their own rate. Learners develop a strong sense of space through repeated contact with the natural world (ideally woodland, but not always) throughout the year and in all weathers.
Forest School empowers children and young people to take responsibility for their own learning and development. The ethos encourages child-led learning and learning through play. Choice increases enjoyment, participation and motivation. Children are set up to achieve and supported to take appropriate risks through developing trust in themselves and in others.
Forest School promotes holistic, individualised learning and development. It is for all ages and abilities and its ethos is fully inclusive. It is most effective in smaller than class size groups (15 mainstream children, fewer for those with specific needs) with a high adult to child ratio. The natural environment provides stimulus for all the senses, all areas of development and all learning styles; visual, auditory and kinaesthetic.
Forest School encourages emotional growth, self esteem, confidence and independence. It gives learners the time and space to be themselves, find peace and communicate with others in a safe and caring environment. Emotional literacy is actively practiced by adults and children within a Forest School.
Forest School is facilitated by qualified Level 3 Forest school Practitioners. Receiving a nationally recognised level 3 qualification in Forest School is essential for practitioners to link theory to practice and create the Forest School ethos. Training ensures practitioners provide safe, skilled and appropriate learning experiences. Practitioners build a trusting relationship and make careful observations of the group to then provide well planned, individualised support for each learner.
Forest School instils a deep respect and awareness for the natural world and reconnects participants to their environment. The repetitive ethos builds a deep, instinctual connection to the natural space and reconnects all to their ancient heritage. Being in nature allows learners to observe real life, witness cause and effect and consider our roles and responsibilities towards it.