What is a Forest School?

“Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health.” Richard Louv

“Studies have shown that spending time in natural environments helps with recall and memory, problem solving and creativity. Children (and adults) who spend more time outside are also physically healthier.” – David Suzuki

Forest School is an innovative educational approach that focuses on the processes of learning rather than content transfer. It is play based, child led learning that takes place in the outdoors. It is a way of stimulating a child’s innate creativity and providing a learning environment that stimulates and utilises the senses of touch, hearing, sight and smell. It is about connecting with the natural world and learning to manage risk. It is letting the children, naturally, through their play, lead the learning in a woodland setting. As Forest School is focused on the process of learning, Forest School leaders have to step outside the box of lesson planning and venture into the exciting territory of the unexpected, unplanned and unlimited. A Forest School leader facilitates learning by providing opportunities for children to explore and discover through open-ended activities in woodland space, scaffolding new understandings as they emerge. Rather than a teacher-directed environment, the children lead through their play and the Forest School leader observes the children, ready to capitalise on and facilitate within the teachable moment.