The concept of Forest-schooling originates from Scandinavia and involves learning in an outdoor environment with a play-based approach.
It has become increasingly popular over recent years with more and more parents actively seeking out this way of learning for their children.
Even if you live in a big city, where children have less opportunity to explore the outdoors, it is still very possible and hugely desirable to incorporate elements of Forest-schooling into your child’s early learning if you can; from nursery’s incorporating Forest School principles into their more traditional classroom-based environments or simply encouraging your child to spend more active time outdoors learning and playing with you, outside of nursery or school-time.
The natural environment has a marked effect on children; it brings a calmness to them.
They discuss new things, they problem solve, they work in teams, interact, and they are free to take risks.
They enter a magical, ever-changing world and their focus and confidence as a result is amazing – research has proven this.
So here are some top benefits for Forest-schooling for you explained:
At Forest School children are physically active so much of the time, which Is great for their overall physical and mental health. Their experience can also encourage a healthier lifestyle outside of school, as children often ask their parents to spend more time outdoors with nature being active such as trips to the woods, gardening or playing out in the park.
Staying safe without cotton-wooling
Being at a Forest school give children space to take part in a ‘wild’ yet entirely safe environment. Here they can learn more independently and are encouraged to assess and take supervised risks and deal with unfamiliar, unpredictable situations and boundaries such as climbing tress or building a den and testing their own abilities in these situations.
Developing self-confidence and social skills
Forest School can be particularly effective for those children who do not do well in the classroom environment and offers a more interactive way of learning which helps to build children’s self-belief. The outdoors offers a more realistic and engaging setting for children to learn how to solve problems and be creative and imaginative both individually and as a group, which again fosters confidence and instills a greater social capability amongst them.
As well as building on their communication skills with each other, children are learning in the outdoor environment all the time as it is always changing. There are always new things to see or hear which means new words and new knowledge.
Writing and drawing with sticks in the mud is also a really creative and fun way to get children to develop their language and literacy skills without them thinking they are doing ‘school-work’ or simply doing ‘writing’ exercises.
Understanding nature and the environment
Spending more time outside and in touch with nature means that children learn in the context of the outdoor environment; understanding the seasons, being able to identify different animals, insects, trees, flowers, making music with rain drops and water, going on a scavenger hunt, building a mud pie and so forth.
Having the chance to be children and have fun!
In today’s house-bound world, children seem to be growing up faster and faster especially with the development of screen-addicting technologies like i-pads and social media. Forest-schooling brings children a more back–to-nature approach to learning where they can have fun, play, get muddy together and simply be children!