Our experience has convinced us that being outdoors enables all young people to access learning opportunities more fully and approach their learning in different ways. Once young people experience the freedom of learning outside the classroom we believe they can flourish in areas as diverse as self-esteem, social skills, literacy, physical skills and creative development.
Forest Schools can appeal strongly to children and young people who may not be so engaged with the classroom environment and even young people seen as disruptive inside can display vast improvements in behavior and motivation when offered challenges outside.
Forest School activities are particularly suited to encouraging:
- team working
- independent inquiry
- reflective learning
- effective participation
- creative thinking
Along with these skills, Forest School can encourage children and young people to:
- Leave behind social pressures related to material and social status.
- See their worth and their abilities related to tasks where there is no measurement.
- Be valued based on their contribution.
- Be themselves and be valued for being themselves.
- Use language and interaction based on the principals of Emotional Literacy, whereby individuals are carefully given direction in how to deal with uncomfortable situations in a positive manner.
- Improve gross and fine motor skills.
- Be aware of visual stimulus outdoors.
- Be aware of auditory stimulus outdoors.
- Develop spatial awareness.
- Become aware of a range of sensory interaction and environmental feedback.
- Develop confidence & self supporting strategies.
- Learn to enjoy learning.
- Promote independence and assessed risk taking.
Examples of the type of activities and experiences Forest School offers
- building and using fires for cooking, charcoal making and other activities
- survival skills such as fire by friction and water skills
- using tools such as penknives and saws for bushcraft skills and woodwork such as making bows and arrows
- building dens and shelters
- exploring the natural environment
- setting tracks and trails through the woodland
- environmental games and songs
- storytelling and poems, woodland drama and literacy
- wild food: identifying, collecting and cooking
- natural art and land art, creative thinking
- coppicing and basic woodland management
- and much more.................