Forest School creates opportunities for exploration, challenge and achievement within the natural environment. It fosters self-belief and wellbeing and nurtures a desire to thrive and learn holistically. It is an interactive adventure encompassing fun, awe and wonder whilst developing the mind, body and spirit to its full potential.
Practitioners are aware that learning takes place in many forms without creating barriers. A Forest School programme provides a unique experience of woodland exploration and non-prescribed learning; it offers individuals the opportunity to take risks and set their own challenges within a supportive environment.
These opportunities allows for holistic learning and individual development within a natural and relaxed woodland area. The programme allows for individuals to succeed and teaches skills in a gradual and non-judgemental way. The programme also caters for the many different styles of learning whether it be auditory, kinaesthetic or visual. Learning will develop physical, emotional and linguistic skills by facilitating a wide range of opportunities and learning opportunities such as den building and cooking around a campfire.
The experience of emotional and cognitive learning are intrinsically linked; a Forest school programme identifies and supports this regardless of culture or social background.
Within a Forest School programme, children are offered opportunities to manage their own risks through carefully planned and sequential sessions whereby routines, boundaries and environmental awareness are established. Week by week children get to know and understand their environment. Forest School develops opportunities such as using tools in a safe and non-threatening way by mastering skills for handling and independent use of them. Children are then able to make informed decisions on which tool to use for a specific purpose.
Being able to climb trees and take opportunities to explore them in detail, up close offers children the chance to negotiate a climb; observing branch structure and formation, strength and height between each branch. By engaging with first-hand experiences this will support and consolidate self-management of risks.