The term ‘Forest School’ is being increasingly used as a ‘buzz word’ by nurseries and schools as part of their promotion. Whilst we welcome all efforts by educational settings to support children’s engagement with the outdoors, it is important to differentiate between forest school-informed “sessions” and a real Forest School.
The following 6 principles, as agreed by the UK Forest School Community in 2011, might be of use.
- Forest School is a long-term process of frequent daily sessions in a woodland or natural environment rather than a one-off timed visit. Planning observations and reviewing are integral elements.
- Forest School takes place in, or close by, a woodland or natural environment to support the development between the learner and natural world.
- Forest School promotes the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient confident independent learners.
- Forest School offers risk.
- Forest School is run by qualified educators who continually develop their professional practice.
- Forest School uses a range of learner based processes to create a community for learning and development.
Hind Leys Pre School and Natural Play Centre is a true fully established ‘Forest School’ with a mindful curriculum for emotional development and mental health.