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Muddy Faces

Forest School principles

The Forest School ethos has six key principles, which were agreed by the UK Forest School community in 2011.

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The six principles of Forest School


Principle 1

Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.


Principle 2

Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.


Principle 3

Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.


Principle 4

Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.


Principle 5

Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.


Principle 6

Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.

Download a pdf of the 6 Forest School Principles here

Ideal to print-off and pin on your noticeboard.
This version of the list appeared in issue 3 of the Outdoor Practitioner, Autumn 2021 - our free online magazine.

6 Forest School principles

pdf, 409.06 KB

See also

Natural Play Principles

The Natural Play Principles* are designed to articulate a child-centred and nature-focused approach called Natural Play. Natural Play enables children’s natural ways of growing, learning and thriving with the help of the natural world.

* developed in collaboration between Jan White (Early Childhood Natural Play), Suzanne Scott (Sandfield Natural Play Centre), Ann Thompson (Naturally Creative and Sandfield Natural Play Centre) and Menna Godfrey (Quackers Playgroup & Natural Play Centre).

Read More about Natural Play Principles

Child led play

At Muddy Faces we feel it is vitally important to consider a child-led approach when making activities available to your groups.

We asked Jan White, internationally-recognised consultant and speaker for outdoor provision in the early years, to explain.

Read More about Child led play
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