Forest Schools – An Open-Ended Resource
Nature-based learning continues to be a growing phenomenon. Being outdoors has huge benefits for children, both physically and mentally, and Forest Schools tap into those benefits by educating children in the fresh air.
The original source of The Forest School concept originated in Scandinavia and is a Scandinavian learning approach. The outdoor environment creates the perfect setting for developing resilience, confidence, independence, and creativity. Children are encouraged to tackle activities in all weather and take manageable risk.
The outside environment provides open-ended resources where children can investigate, think critically, explore, make decisions and work with others.
Benefits of forest schools include:
- Reconnecting children and staff with nature and helping to reduce stress
- Supporting teaching outside to reduce the risk of COVID-19
- Encouraging higher levels of physical activity, addressing obesity levels
- Improving children’s creativity
- Fulfilling a curriculum requirement from the Ofsted framework to create an enriched curriculum
- Building children’s understanding of how they fit into the British countryside
- Focusing children’s knowledge of environmental issues and how they can make a difference and care for their environment, local community and planet
- Creating a generation that will want to contribute to nature
- People who visit nature have greater life satisfaction, more self-worth, more happiness, and less anxiety
- Builds confidence and independence
- Feeling empathy for others and nature
- Exposure to manageable risk
According to the Forest School Association, it’s an “inspirational process, that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees”. the FSA principles, all forest school participants should be viewed as:
- Equal, unique and valuable.
- Competent to explore and discover.
- Entitled to experience appropriate risk and challenge.
- Entitled to choose, and to initiate and drive their own learning and development.
- Entitled to experience regular success.
- Entitled to develop positive relationships with themselves and other people.
- Entitled to develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world.
Timotay have worked in partnership with numerous schools, preschools, SEND settings and early years settings and have created inspirational forest schools and forest school areas and nature camps .
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