Forest School history
In the mid 1990s, a cohort of Bridgewater College staff & Early Years practitioners from Somerset returned from an inspiring visit to Denmark & set about creating their own version of the outdoor play they had witnessed.
Forest School in the UK has evolved and is now very different from the Scandinavian approach it was originally based on
Children in the UK, on the whole, have limited time and access to the outdoors, whereas Scandinavian children have access all day everyday. There are a growing number of exceptions to this, where nature kindergartens have been set up to allow children to spend their whole day outdoors. These are, unfortunately, exceptions rather than the norm in the UK.
FSA History of Forest School
A much more in-depth history of the development of Forest School, from the Forest Scholl Association.
A Brief History of the Roots of Forest School in the UK (pdf)
‘Some Forest School history is fuzzy; to be expected in a social movement with multiple experiences and sparse literature. We tell the story from the writer’s perspectives focusing on some key figures mostly in the UK. To a large extent, Forest School is nothing new in learning outdoors. Forest School roots are often attributed to Scandinavia yet there is a strong family tree in UK culture and elsewhere. The Forest School seed planted by Bridgwater College’s 1993 visit to Denmark grows on centuries-old fertile soil, and it is this ‘soil’ we look at in this first article.’
Jon Cree and Mel McCree, In Horizons (IOL magazine), Winter 2012
Reading, writing and mud: the growth of Forest Schools
A quick look at the history, an interview with John Blaney, and visits to two Forest Schools.
The Telegraph (has a paywall), 8 December 2015
Forest School: run wild with a new branch of learning
A meeting with John Blaney, Forest School programme manager at Bridgwater College in Somerset, the home of the Forest School concept in the UK, which all began on a research trip to Denmark back in 1993.
The Telegraph (has a paywall), 3 October 2013.