What are forest schools?February 5, 2019
Outdoor play and learning are essential in today’s technical world. Encouraging our children and young people to engage with nature is critical in combating the negative effects of too much screen time and raising a healthy and inquisitive generation. Here is a more detailed look at the importance of forest schools and their benefits.
To put it quite simply, the aim of a forest school is to provide an area where children can enjoy being outside. Woodland experiences – from the provision of childrens wooden climbing frames to cooking on an open fire – help to engage and motivate the younger generation.
The forest school environment provides opportunities for children to widen both their social and emotional skills, in addition to helping them develop self awareness. Playing in a natural environment also teaches them how to identify and handle risks, use their own initiative, and work together as a team.
Forest schools often utilise traditional equipment (check out https://www.niclimbingframes.com/childrens-wooden-climbing-frames), but it’s not just a play area; children use tools, make fires, cook outside and learn about nature. Research has shown that the children learn about their own boundaries and those around them while developing confidence and motivation.
The great outdoors
It’s all around us, but sadly, our outdoor spaces are often underutilised, especially by children who are spending more of their time on solitary tasks such as tablets and gaming devices. Forest schools aim to turn this trend around and positively encourage not just children but a whole host of local organisations, such as community groups, to take advantage of such spaces.
Being outside is known for lifting mood and enhancing our thought processes, allowing us time to reflect on our thoughts and feelings. Forest schools are the perfect place for such personal reflection and something that we should all make time for. Children and adults alike gain many benefits by using their imagination through learning and play. Interacting with their peers helps them to problem solve, too.
Forest schools are becoming more and more popular up and down the country. It is seen as a real plus by parents, staff and pupils at the many schools that have embraced the initiative and turned their outside space into an area for children and young people to explore.