Forest School history
Forest School has roots in outdoor play & learning in Scandinavia & the UK.
In the mid 1990s, a cohort of Early Years practitioners & staff from Bridgewater College in 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
Forest School history & philosophy
Also answers: What is a Forest School? What makes forest school different? What is the curriculum like? Who is forest school for? What are the benefits of Forest School? When and where is forest school offered? From the Forest School Foundation (US).
A Brief History of Forest Schools Around The World
Brief country-by-country histories and nice list of the different names. Growing Wild Forest School/Forest School Foundation (US).