What is Forest School?
Forest School is an ethos, a way of working in the outdoors which usually takes place in forest or woodland, as the name suggests! It is a whole person approach to learning and development in nature. The Forest School Association has a set of principles that we work with and challenge ourselves to grow better all the time!
Principle 1: Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.
Principle 2: Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
Principle 3: Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners
Principle 4: Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
5. Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
6. Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning
Find out more
Coming to Forest School on a regular basis has positive impacts on social, emotional and physical wellbeing for all age groups - and especially for young teenagers. There is growing evidence that it builds personal resilience and creates space for young people to have a break from the stresses that may surround them in school - whilst their learning continues. Spending regular time in the woods, away from the ‘usual’ learning setting creates opportunities for learning and wellbeing that are very different to time in school grounds. The FSA reading list here is very useful, and the Government funded Natural Connections project if you want to get the message across in a school.
What makes us slightly different at Young Wood is the ‘whole forest-whole person’ approach, whereby we nurture an under-managed area of woodland which in turn creates the spaces to nurture children, young people and adults. We also run regular volunteer events to manage the woods and have a group of committed volunteers who help run Forest School sessions - all are DBS checked.
For information about availability and costs for bringing regular school groups, please contact us or email firstname.lastname@example.org
School 'Days in the Woods'
If your school is already running Forest School, or would like to have a woodland experience, it may be time for a day deep in the forest. A special day which we design together before you come, and could include:
- building shelters of fallen branches and specially cut poles
- making small fires using the abundant wood
- explore around the woods, hunting for tracks, bones, feathers, flowers, bugs...
- making stories together around the campfire or under the story-telling tree
- using our messy mud to make clay-faces, models and pictures
- cooking popcorn, marshmallows or even campfire pizzas
- using the shave-horses to learn tool-work and make a bench to take home
- projects linked to the curriculum
Costs depend on numbers, activities and staffing. Please contact us to see how we can get you out in the wood! We will do our best to make it affordable for your school or group.