Forest schools offer a special type of learning opportunity in which children spend an extended time in the outdoors.
They learn a range of new skills outside, in all weathers and conditions. These skills involve personal, social and physical development.
An aesthetically designed ‘forest’ environment has the potential to open up a child’s mind and offer some exhilarating learning experiences. The purpose of this form of provision is to provide an inspirational process that gives children regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence through hands-on learning within a natural environment.
What is experienced and learnt is often led by the child's interests (child initiated learning), rather than an adult’s.
The main goal of a forest school is to encourage curiosity and exploration with all of the senses, empowering young children in a natural environment, and developing their spatial awareness and motor development.
What else will forest school experience offer children?
They will learn about flora and fauna, as well as gain benefits in social skills such as team-building, cooperation, risk management, problem solving and a greater understanding of the needs of others. The combination of freedom and responsibility is particularly beneficial to children who suffer from a lack of confidence, those who relish outdoor play, and those who are very lively and want to experiment in the outdoors, those who are dominant and unaware of others’ needs and those whose behaviour may be challenging. With a high adult: child ratio, children can safely experience activities that are often prohibited, such as climbing trees or lighting fires. The programme allows children to grow in confidence and independence and it extends their all-round abilities.
We are very incredibly lucky at Marchbank in having a wonderful mature wooded area and staff who are experienced in delivering the Forest School experience.