What is Forest School?
Forest Schools in the United Kingdom have been adapted from a Scandinavian approach to learning. They originated in Sweden in the 1950s and first came to the UK in the mid-1990s when a group from Bridgwater College in Somerset visited Denmark and witnessed children playing outside, leading their own activities, booking on open fires, climbing and using tools. They were inspired by what they saw and started to run their own Forest School sessions in the UK. Since then, Forest Schools have become increasing popular across the country.
It is based on the idea that children can develop enthusiasm for education through the appreciation of nature, and Forest schools have found to boost pupils’ confidence and improved their behaviour and social skills. Forest school is holistic learning through play and exploration, children learn about the environment, how to handle risks and use their initiative to solve problems and to co-operate with others.
6 Key principles of Forest School
- “Forest school is a long term, repetitive learning process that uses a natural outdoor space”
- “Forest School empowers children and young people to take responsibility for their own learning and development”
- “Forest School promotes holistic, individualised learning and development”
- “Forest School encourages emotional growth, self-esteem, confidence and independence”
- “Forest School is facilitated by qualified Level 3 Forest school Practitioners”
- “Forest School instils a deep respect and awareness for the natural world and reconnects participants to their environment”
Forest School at Balliol
At Balliol we believe in children’s need to play along with the need to access and experience the outdoors. Pupils should be exposed to controlled risk and the reality of the natural world. They should experience a healthy range of emotions, through all challenges of social interaction to build a resilience that will enable a continued and creative engagement with their potential their peers and their environment.