Forest School is based on a Scandinavian idea of embracing the outdoors as a learning environment. Each Forest School session is run by a fully trained Forest School Leader, who has completed and passed the Level 3 Forest School practitioners course.
The sessions will use learning and teaching strategies which raise self-esteem and develop confidence, independence, language and communication skills. The Forest School Leader plans to carry themes looked at in the classroom into the woodland. They also plan for individual learning styles and interests. The Forest School sessions are part of the children's learning experiences, part of their school week.
It is strongly felt within Forest School sessions that children need to learn to manage and control their own risk. If their play environment is too safe and sanitised, the children will either play in a repetitive and uninspired way or will extend their risk and play in a dangerous, high risk way.
The children extend their learning by experiencing weather conditions that they would not normally be able to access. The only unsafe conditions are strong winds, we attend each session come rain or shine!
The adults show their trust in the children to follow Forest School values and stay safe, allowing them autonomy to manage their own learning experiences. This also applies with fire and tools; we will not introduce either until we are happy that we can trust the children with managing their own risk.
Forest School is about an internal process of holistic development, difficult to achieve in a busy, indoor classroom. Children need time and space to make their own choices, fostering creativity and self expression, allowing open ended, cooperative play with high cognitive challenge.