Benefits of Forest School
Forest Schools offer a unique educational experience using the outdoor environment of the forest as a classroom. Research (see appendix1) backs up what Forest School practitioners have known all along – that children and young people are stimulated by the outdoors and typically experience, over time, an increase in their self belief, confidence, learning capacity, enthusiasm, communication and problem-solving skills as well as developing an individuals' emotional well-being.
Enjoy and achieve
Forest School sets learning in a different context for children where they can undertake a range of practical activities and carry out small achievable tasks. A Forest School practitioner or supporting adult will facilitate child-led learning by providing inspiration and support to an individual who can not independently initiate purposeful engagement. This is through suggestion or through practical modelling of activities which spurs the child into a direction they are happy to develop and explore. At Forest School children can develop their team working skills as well as to learn how to become more independent. Those who are unfamiliar with woodlands and green spaces can become confident in using them and this can form the basis of a benficial life-long relationship with natural spaces. Reconnecting children to nature is one of Forest School’s driving forces.
At Forest School children are physically active a lot of the time which improves their stamina over a period of regular sessions. Their experience can also help to lead to the development of healthier lifestyles as children become more comfortable in outdoor spaces and they ask their parents and carers to take them on trips to woodlands and green spaces outside of school times. As the children gain confidence and improve their self-esteem this can prove to have a positive impact on their emotional and mental well-being.
The ‘wild’but yet closely supervised and controlled, safe environment of Forest School ensures that children in a session will naturally learn to assess risk and are encouraged to make sensible and informed decisions about how to deal with unfamiliar and unpredictable situations (such as exploring, using tools to build shelters and dens). Much of the learning for a child comes as a result of the opportunities they have for testing their own abilities in a real life context.
Make a positive contribution
Forest School helps children to develop their confidence. As children become familiar with Forest School they begin to take their new-found confidence into the larger school envirnment and school community as well as other areas of their lives. Forest School can be particularly effective for children who do not do well in the classroom environment. Children learn to solve problems, be creative and deepens imagination.
The Forest School Site
The Weald School is extremely fortunate to have access to large playing fields which lead directly to a secure and private Woodland area. Here Forest School sessions can be run within the security of the school grounds.