What Are the Benefits of Forest School?

What Are the Benefits of Forest School?

If you haven’t come across the term or aren’t sure what it means, then we have listed some of the best reasons why we believe forest schools are fundamental in children's development, health and well-being. Read on to discover 10 benefits of forest school.

So you may be thinking what exactly is a Forest School?

Boy playing with mud kitchen wearing red puddlesuit

In a nutshell Forest Schools take learning outdoors for a part of the day. This may involve exploring the woods as a group and collecting treasures, building a den or simply taking your lesson outdoors away from the classroom. The development of Forest Schools began in 1993, and is based on a Scandinavian idea that recognises the importance of children’s contact with nature. Many schools have now added this to their curriculum and a growing number of organisations are also getting involved to spread awareness of the advantages it brings.

Here are the 10 benefits of Forest School:

1) Confidence

Forest School helps children to grow in confidence as a result of the freedom, time and space they are given in their learning. This allows them to demonstrate independence at each individual child’s rate.

2) Social skills

Activities such as sharing tools and participating in play help teach the children to work together as a group, which strengthens their bonds and social ties.

3) Communication

The sensory experiences provided by Forest School's helps prompt language development. Improving communication skills has a positive effect on a child’s self-esteem and is a crucial part of their development.

children playing with mud kitchen wearing Muddy Puddles puddlesuits

4) Motivation and concentration

High levels of interest lead to high levels of attention. Spending time in the woodland is exciting for a child. It tends to fascinate them which develops a strong will to participate and concentrate over long periods of time.

5) Physical skills

The increase in outdoor activity is bound to have a positive physical impact. Not only does the development of physical stamina improve but also gross and fine motor skills.

6) Knowledge and understanding

Children develop an interest in the great outdoors and respect for the environment. Encouraging children to develop a relationship with the natural world will help in protecting the environment for generations to come. 

boy wearing waterproof dungarees playing with mud kitchen

7) New perspectives

Forest School isn’t just beneficial to children it is also beneficial to teachers. Observing their class in a different setting allows them to gain a new perspective and understanding of their class.

8) Ripple effects

When children really engage with Forest Schools they will take their experiences home to share with friends and family. This will often encourage families to visit their local woodlands more frequently.

9) Levels the playing field

Taking children outside of the classroom removes the pressures of academia and allows them to play to their strengths. This is beneficial to children who struggle in the classroom because there is more of an opportunity for them to learn at their own pace.

10) Enjoyable for the children

Forest Schools are fun! It is educational whilst also allowing children to play, explore and discover. Children who participate in Forest Schools are generally observed to be happier. The fresh air, the excitement, getting mucky – it doesn't get child friendlier than that. View our range of children's waterproofs for outdoor learning here! Find out more at the Forest School Association or Forestry Commission.
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