Forest schools has been chosen by the school to extend learning outside of the classroom, promoting collaborative and cooperative learning.
Forest school can be a positive source of exercise, encouraging children to incorporate it into their lifestyle. Technology is a contributing factor at an impressionable age in the decline of outdoor play, with children choosing online gaming instead of the great outdoors. As children get older, physical activity plays a key role in their ability to learn, improving cognitive function, self - esteem, concentration, mood and social skills (CBC, News, 2014).
Educational pioneers promoted the value of the natural environment in learning, child health and emotional well - being where skills are honed in a new experience and environment (Pound, 2005). Forest school is an approach that sits within, and compliments the wider approach of outdoor education.
If education is to enable children to confront challenges through appropriate and innovative ways, different learning experiences need to be encountered (Macintyre, 2001).
What are the Benefits?
As well as developing social, emotional and cognitive skills Forest Schools help in keeping children healthy. Research shows the more time spent outdoors by children that they have better brain function, fewer conflicts and better language development, improved engagement in vital life skills compared to others that stay indoors (Siegfredsen-Williams). Increasing diagnosis of children with obesity and mental health disorders is attributing to a phenomena called ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’, where children have limited access to the outdoors (Whitebread, 2012).
It has been recognised by the forestry commission that there is great benefit in teaching the curriculum in a natural environment. Forest school case studies commissioned by the forestry commission illustrated positive impacts focused on confidence, social skills, language and communication, motivation and concentration, physical skills and knowledge and understanding.
Anecdotal evidence from forest schools has been found to have a profound effect on the way children relate to the world around them, focusing on learning styles of individuals. Showing that if education is enjoyable a child will grow in confidence and self- esteem through pleasurable experiences (Murray et al., 2003).
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural
Forest school supports the wellbeing of the children through spiritual, moral, social and cultural development providing opportunities to thrive and enrich their learning.