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Forest Schools & Outdoor Learning

Forest schools

Forest schools refer to regular outdoor sessions, in natural environments to enable children to develop confidence through hands-on learning.

How often do children get to be in forest schools?

Our Forest schools mainly take place in woodland, however, we also visit heathland, Durdle Door or Lulworth Cove. "Forest school’ refers to weekly lessons as part of a normal school curriculum and the children will take part in Forest School once a week, most weeks of the year.

What is the philosophy behind forest schools?

Originating from Scandinavia, the concept of ‘friluftsliv’ (free open-air life in Danish) was initially  developed with under-7s. The benefits of their self-esteem, motivation and learning was soon recognised and it developed in the UK in the 1990s into what we know now as forest school. Forest schools have been shown to:

  • Increase self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Improve co-operation, communication skills and awareness of others
  • Increase motivation, self-discovery and positive attitude towards learning
  • Encourage ownership and pride in the local environment
  • Encourage a better understanding of the outdoors
  • Increase the skills and knowledge. 

What kind of activities?

We use sessions as part of our curriculum and, for example, link lessons from our classroom learnt subjects. Science might involve filtering sediments with tree taps, or making elderflower cordial, identifying bugs using a magnifying glass. Sessions can inspire essays and art, involve traditional crafts such as weaving nettle cordage, balancing on a tree to tree tightrope or mindfulness in a hammock looking at the sky.  There are also great opportunities for teambuilding – making and testing shelters, for example - and self-esteem workshops.  And there’s time for plenty of fun, digging in the mud, building dams, running through fallen leaves.

For photos of Forest School and the activities the children take part in, please follow this link: