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Forest Schools

A Forest School is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning in a woodland environment. The philosophy behind these schools is to encourage and inspire children through positive outdoor experiences over an extended period of time.

The original concept was developed in Sweden and became established in the UK in the 1950’s and it has since extended throughout the world. It is becoming increasingly recognised that this ‘outdoor’ approach to learning and play can have a significant effect on the natural development of children. In the outdoors children have a larger range of choices for play in nature and it was found that children played for longer amounts of time. Promoting concentration and a reduction in stress. It appeared that forest school children seemed much more respectful to each other.

Outside air is almost always better than indoors, therefore a child is less likely to be exposed to a virus and bacteria and not as likely to be infected by other children. It has been shown that stress has a negative effect on the immune system, high levels of stress may be having a weakening effect on the ability for the city children to resist infection.

The children who had the forest school opportunity were in a pleasant, fun, natural and relaxing environment. These children were arriving at school with stronger social skills, high capacity to work in groups and seemed to have high self-esteem and confidence in their own abilities.

These attributes have proved over time to be an effective foundation to raise academic achievements. Opportunities in outdoor settings allow children to develop a range of life skills: independence, self awareness, altruism and social communication skills, all of which assist individuals to grow in confidence and self-esteem. Participants gain confidence in their own ability. Kinesthetic learners are particularly suited to learning in this woodland outdoor environment.