Originating in Denmark the Forest School movement became an integral part of early year’s education from the 1980’s when it was introduced as part of an expansion of nursery provision. It is based on the idea that young children can develop a passion for education through the appreciation of nature. In Denmark, Forest schools have been found to boost pupils’ confidence and improve their behaviour and social skills. Forest school is holistic learning through play and exploration; children learn about their environment, develop their creativity and; critical thinking while using their initiative to solve problems.
Most people associate risks with harm, but the forest school ethos sees risks as something for children to overcome, which expands their abilities and self-belief and teaches them to take care of themselves.
In addition to the known benefits to wellbeing that physical activity and getting fresh air have, forest school support children to:
1. Build self-esteem and confidence
2. Co-operate and communicate with their peers
3. Understand the importance of taking care of the environment
4. Nurture empathy and a sense of connection to nature
5. Be inspired by the world around them
6. Build a position attitude to learning and motivation