Forest School learning is an approach which offers all learners discovery through natural opportunities to achieve and develop self-confidence and self-esteem. It is a specialised learning approach which encouraging people to be inspired through hands-on learning experiences that comprises within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.
Forest schools, which are run through professional trained leaders are able to plan, observe and respond to the child’s needs and development. Forest School as set out in their 6 principles. Forest Schools leaders, have risk assessments in place, to manage risks in the outdoors. This risk management benefits empowers children to engage in a wide variety of risky activities with higher level of independence and greater curiosity, this also could include using different tools, climbing trees, playing with animals and making fires and other woodland related activities. Children develop a greater sense of self confidence and self belief when they engage in risky physical activities, which are adequately provided in woodlands.
Forest Schools is known for their important role of promoting and modelling social, emotional development and wellbeing. It is through a wide range of strategies and careful planning that forest school leaders can support learners and achieve this. Initially, the leader allows the learner to discover and explore their environment and activities in an independent self-directed way. It is only when riskier learning is implemented adequate safety measures need to be put in place. It is through the leader’s assessment and reflection that they will introduce these new risky activities which is all part of promoting children self-confidence and sense of achieving something.
In relation to child’s wellbeing, Forest Schools have a positive impact on the outcomes of children enhancing their mental health aiding improving their social and cognitive competence, which also develops their confidence and resilience as well as promoting healthy physical excercise.