“Let Nature be your teacher.” – William Wordsworth
Forest School based activities provide a wide range of benefits that are difficult to achieve in a classroom or office based environment such as risk taking, movement and sensory stimulation.
benefits of Forest School activities
Evolves from the needs of the participant - providing a context for activities
Builds self-esteem and self-belief
Assists language and communication skills
Develops team working skills
Provides opportunities to take risks in a wild yet controlled environment
Provides opportunities to develop thinking skills and solve problems
Enables the learning of new skills and fosters creativity
Complements classroom and workplace learning where skills can be transferred
They are fun
It utilises a variety of learning styles and multiple intelligences. Howard Gardener (1983) identified multiple intelligences, recognising that the most effective type of learning relies on various pathways, including: Spatial, Linguistic, Logical-mathematical, Bodily-kinaesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal and Naturalsitic as well as a Moral intelligence. Our Forest School setting meets the needs of all learners through its adaptable setting and experiential opportunities.
A study in Sweden that took place over 13 months revealed that children attending forest schools in a countryside setting were much more happy than their urban setting counterparts. Sick days were reduced by 25% and the children were less irritable, less stressed, more perseverent, and more considerate to others. This reflects Maslow's Hierachy of Needs (1943) where a positive environment that meets one's basic needs is required for anyone to truly reach their potential.
Strength and resilience are required to meet the demands of a modern life. Such emotional maturity can be gained when time, space and freedom are provided, as found in an outdoor setting. Opportunities to explore such a setting establish deep thought processes that can be used to support future life experiences for the young and old alike.
Through engaging with Forest School activities the participants will take their experiences away to share with friends and families. Not only will this provide opportunities to rehearse what they have learnt but it will also encourage others to visit outdoor environments and develop a healthy connection with the world around them.