‘Forest school is essentially outdoor, nature-based learning that focuses on the holistic development of the child,’ says Jane Worroll, an ex-countryside ranger and co-author of Play the Forest School.
Forest school helps children develop many skills that are hard to teach in the classroom. ‘It’s very physical so it encourages children to be active, with lots of activities to develop both fine and gross motor skills,’ Jane says
For example, being outdoors year-round helps children learn about weather and the seasons, which are part of the programme of study in geography, studying mini beasts and plant life relates to the sciencecurriculum, and working on tasks like den building and woodwork links with design and technology.
Children also benefit from the simple act of being outdoors. Research has shown that it improves mental and spiritual health, communication skills and social relationships, among other things. ‘Connecting with nature helps children feel part of the world,’ Jane agrees. ‘Just being outside in nature is calming, and you can see that in how children behave.’