A Forest School is an outdoor classroom where children are encouraged to develop their own learning through play and curriculum-linked activities. Based on Danish methods of Early Years and Primary education, children are taken to an outdoor setting once a week for at least 6 weeks.
We have connected with an adventure playground in Shoreditch, Hackney, who have agreed to allow us to run Forest School programmes on the site during school hours, when it is generally disused. There are seven primary schools in the local area who would be able to take part in Forest School activities run on the site, several have expressed interest in the project. We would like to run 12 week projects with 2 schools, with the aim of expanding our delivery in 2014.
Forest School is supported by the National Trust as a counter to a 'sedentary indoor lifestyle' (Natural Childhood, National Trust, 2012), has been found to have a positive impact for children with 'significant behaviour problems' and 'mental disorders' (Sowing the Seeds, London Sustainable Development Commission, 2011) and aids the development of language and communication skills for all children, particularly those with EAL (English as an Additional Language). Many areas of the National Curriculum Foundation to KS4 are intrinsically covered, in the Forest School experience.
The Forest School approach meets the developmental needs of the whole child, at the same time nurturing respect and care for the environment by focussing on providing an experience in the natural environment.
- For urban children and young people to have meaningful outdoor experiences and make informed choices towards positive, low-impact lifestyles.
- Positive impact on effects of deprivation
- Environmental education and awareness
- Improved physical and mental health and wellbeing for the children and young people who participate in our programmes and workshops
- Reconnecting people with nature in their local community
Funded by London (October 2013)