Exploring Forest Schools

Exploring Forest Schools

“And into the forest I go to lose my mind and find my soul.”  This is one of my favourite quotes and it’s written by a man named John Muir who is one of the most famous and influential naturalists in history. I think this quote explains so simply the magic and benefits that the impact of time spent in the forest can have on us.

That is, I believe why forest schools are becoming more popular and so I decided to explore forest schools and their benefits to help you decide if it’s something that you think would make a great addition to your school or nursery.

Whilst some children are very lucky to grow up in the countryside with access to open parks and gardens, some children live in the city and have no garden of their own or easy access to natural, green spaces. However, forest schools can be beneficial to all children from all areas of the UK, it just becomes more important for city children to have access to forest schools because its something they would otherwise never get to experience.

Additionally, children that have gardens and green spaces to play in on the regular, can still benefit hugely from forest schools because having access to green spaces doesn’t mean they have been taught the skills that you could teach them within a forest school.

So, what are those skills? You can teach lots of different educational activities within a forest school such as den building, building bug houses, whittling, threading, weaving, and using obstacle courses, all of which build on gross and fine motor skills.

There are also many opportunities to develop teamwork through the building of dens and creating pieces of artwork using natural materials found on the forest ground. Making shelters, learning to use hand tools, and tying knots will develop their physical skills. Whereas producing art with natural items, making stick men, and designing nature jewellery will develop their creative skills.

Communication skills can also be improved as they will be learning words that they may never heard of before and the calming, natural environment can aid in relaxing them and resulting in them feeling more inclined to join in group discussions when they usually wouldn’t.

I have listed a handful of activities above, but there are many more that you can introduce, all of which will grow your children’s confidence both within the forest school and beyond, thanks to an experience that is nothing like what they can discover at home.

Forest schools transform learning from a fairly rigid and clinical experience to a real experience that feels right and natural. To be able to teach children whilst surrounded by nature is a privilege and if you are able to set up a forest school within your nursery or school, you should absolutely take up the opportunity. The forests are filled with magic and wonder, and you can introduce them to that.

Download our How to Get the Most Out of Your Canopy Guide for outdoor learning ideas that can be enjoyed under your canopy until you can get your forest school started.

Able Canopies Ltd. design, manufacture and install canopies and shade structures at schools, nurseries and educational settings to enable year-round Free Flow Outdoor Play and Outdoor Learning.
For more information please contact us

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