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What is Forest School?

Forest School is an internationally-recognised, innovative approach to education. The Forest School movement in the UK is growing and becoming established as a part of many children’s and also adult’s lives.

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Watch: What is Forest School?
A video from The Forest School Association

Forest School embraces the outdoors as an inspirational learning environment.
It is focused on the child’s learning needs rather than specific outcomes.
Children are able to explore & experience the natural world on a regular & sustained basis.

  • Forest School provides a unique way of building confidence and self-esteem, learning new life skills and promoting independence through hands-on learning experiences
  • Forest School programmes are child-led – areas of interest are generated by the children or young people participating. This is achieved through observation and reviewing, which helps practitioners prepare for their following sessions
  • Forest School sessions take place regularly, ideally once a week, throughout the year, in all seasons and all weathers – unless it is dangerous for the session to take place, such as in extreme weather (high winds or lightning)
  • Many Forest School projects successfully integrate the school curriculum whilst following the interests of the group or individuals. This is achieved by considering the curriculum in an enabling outdoor context, using learning and teaching strategies which raise confidence and develop communication skills
  • Where Forest Schools excel is in supporting the individual. The Forest School ethos acknowledges individual learning processes and supports participants at their own pace, and responds to their requirements and areas of interest. It encourages individuals to build up to a point where they feel they can push their own limits both physically and emotionally. Forest Schools provide a safe yet challenging and stimulating environment full of sensory diversity
  • At Forest School the participants are actively involved with how the programmes develop. This makes experiences relevant to them and has a direct effect on motivation, causing the learning experience to be more emotionally-involved and the learning then rooted more deeply .

Forest School principles

Forest School principles

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

Read More about Forest School principles
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