What is Forest School?
Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a natural environment with trees.
The main principles of the Forest School approach are:
Forest school session is led by the child's interests.
There is a “focused activity” in the session but often this is based on the children’s interests seen in previous sessions. There will be free time in each session.
SMALL ACHIEVEABLE TASKS
Each session the children will be given small achievable tasks to complete. One week they might learn to use a potato peeler to peel a carrot. The following week they might use the peeler to sharpen a stick on which to toast their marshmallow. The focus on achievable tasks is so that the children grow in self-esteem at the ability to achieve something they previously thought impossible.
ALLOWS RISK TAKING
Key to the Forest school ethos is risk taking- something of which educational providers over the past 30 years have been more and more wary. If a child is taught correctly to climb a tree or to use a tool the child is learning a skill by doing and should gain confidence in the meantime.
Children frequently show concern for each other and take responsibility for ensuring each other’s safety. A forest school environment gives children the space and freedom that may not otherwise be available in their lives.
Part of the Forest School learning is to learn by experimenting. As mentioned earlier, the focus is child led and the aim is to provide a safe and non-threatening environment in which children can take risks, make choices and initiate their own learning and learn from their own experience.