Let Your Lessons Breath

Let Your Lessons Breath

Manor Infant School JN50603 (1)As the weather improves, with more sunshine and warmer temperatures, you are likely going to be planning more learning sessions outside of the classroom.

Numerous lessons can be taught outdoors, e.g. lifecycles, the water cycle and personal development sessions. However, do you really need to restrict these lessons to only the spring and summer terms?

During the autumn and winter months, when there is a lot of wind, rain and snow, these vital lessons are still relevant.

The Forest School Concept

Outdoor play at any time of the year helps children to blossom and develop skills. The benefits were evident when a group of nursery nurses at Bridgewater College, Somerset, visited a Danish pre-school. They noticed how their open-air culture was central to the early years education system. When implementing this back at their college nursery, they noticed the difference in the children.

Since then, Forest School has become a major part of many schools and preschools in the UK.

Even those that don’t have access to a forest can undertake outside lessons with planted areas and climbing apparatus. If you don’t have access to an outside space, Forest School can be held indoors with seeds being grown in containers, for example.

Learning in an outdoor setting can help children keep active, encouraging personal growth, and increase their confidence in their abilities and social skills.

The Risks

The major barrier to this being universally adopted is the perceived risks that teachers and parents may have, e.g. slipping, or falling. A risk assessment can identify areas that are potentially hazardous, and you can put plans in place to minimise risk, for example, placing a shelter to keep an area dry.

Another problem is that some parents don’t like their children getting cold or dirty. But this is more a case of children going to play wearing inappropriate clothing. Instead, ensure children wear suitable clothes and footwear for outdoor activities.


Learning and playing outdoors is important for young children as they grow. Outside playtime and teaching sessions can help develop their personal skills and self-esteem, as well as keep them active which is important for their health.

To ensure fun for all, though, you must do a risk assessment and check all children have suitable clothing.

Are you looking to develop a forest school in your setting? What can you do with your outdoor space?

Let us know in the comments below.

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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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