Forest School is a unique, child-led, experiential learning process that provides children with the opportunity to learn in a safe and secure outdoor environment. Forest school aims to develop a child’s communication and language and personal, social, emotional and physical development through hands-on learning experiences. Children engage in physical activities throughout the year and in almost all weathers, with the appropriate footwear and clothing.

The Forest School idea was born in Denmark, originally aimed at pre-school children, where it was found that children who had attended Forest School acquired strong communication and language skills, the ability to work effectively in groups, high self-esteem, confidence in their own abilities and renewed motivation and self-efficacy. The skills and knowledge learnt in an outdoor environment have real and lasting impact on a child’s learning. Forest School can help pave the way for children’s future academic success.

At Forest School, children attend weekly sessions lasting for over an hour. The sessions involve practical hands-on activities, where children use real tools and learn to manage and evaluate risks and failures, working through practical problems and challenges under the support and guidance of a qualified Forest School Lead. In following a child-centred approach to learning, the children are given freedom and responsibility to explore their interests, initiating and directing their own learning. The Forest School approach seeks to engender active and motivated learners.

Forest School encourages children to:

  • develop personal, social and emotional skills

  • develop communication and language

  • develop physical development (fine and gross motor skills)

  • work through practical problems and challenges

  • use tools to create, build, manage or manipulate

  • discover how they learn best

  • pursue lines of enquiry that interests them

  • learn how to manage and evaluate risks and failures

  • build confidence in decision making

  • develop practical skills

  • understand the benefits of a balanced and healthy lifestyle

  • explore connections between humans, wildlife and the earth

  • regularly experience achievement and success

  • reflect on learning and experiences

  • become more motivated

  • improve their concentration skills

  • begin to explore their spiritual understanding and how they relate to the natural world.