What is Forest School?
The Forest School movement originated in Denmark. It has been an integral part of Early years education since the 1980’s when it was introduced as part of an expansion of nursery provision. Since then Forest School has been developed and is now available to all ages. It is based on the idea that young children can develop enthusiasm for education through the appreciation of nature. In Denmark, Forest schools have found to boost pupils’ confidence and improved their behaviour and social skills. Forest school is holistic learning through play and exploration, children learn about the environment, how to handle risks and use their initiative to solve problems and to co-operate with others.
The six key principles of Forest School were agreed in 2002 (Cree and McCree, 2013):
- Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than a one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
- Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
- Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
- Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
- Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
- Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.