A forest school is an educational institution where children are nurtured and encouraged to learn in an outdoor setting, promoting the development of vital skills while interacting with nature. Forest schools often have an outdoor area that encourages play, discovery, curiosity and social play with a strong connection to the natural world, so that they can create a strong relationship and appreciation of the environment.
Although each school is unique, the concept of forest schools is to always ensure that children feel supported enough so that they can boost their self-esteem, alongside growing an appreciation for nature. They will also learn about the impact of human actions on the planet and essentially teach kids, on a very basic level, how to live in harmony with nature. Keren’s Nursery provides extensive forest school sessions and activities, allowing our children to explore the wonders of nature in a safe and educating environment.
What Are The Key Factors of A Forest School?
Forest schools not only encourage children to create a relationship with nature but help children develop a sense of belonging. This blog is going to dive deep into how a forest school does this, through a more experiential learning experience and flexible curriculum which is guided by trained professionals.
What Is The Usual Curriculum of A Forest School?
A forest school might not follow the standard curriculum the same way as a regular school would and this is because they are developed to be flexible and adaptable to each child. This is done by adjusting the curriculum so that the needs and interests of each child are met, alongside working alongside nature and the seasons when introducing new activities.
What Activities Are Common in A Forest School?
Like regular schools, a forest school will ensure that the children are learning social, emotional and cognitive skills, however, this is usually done with a more hands-on method. Some schools might offer a variety of outdoor activities, such as gardening, working with animals or art in nature, and others might have a mix of activities that stimulate and encourage crucial skills indoors and outdoors.
3 Common Activities In A Forest School and How They Benefit Children
Forest schools provide children with the opportunity to engage in various activities, such as gardening, role-play, and storytelling, enabling them to connect with the natural environment and promote their overall growth and development. Discover more below.
This could include watering plants, planting seeds or harvesting fruit or vegetables. Some other activities that are related to gardening are creating crafts from natural materials found in the garden and even the encouragement of role-play or songs related to the garden.
How Does Gardening Benefit Children?
Being outdoors and interacting with plants allows children to develop vital physical, cognitive, social and emotional skills, alongside increasing their awareness of the natural world. Some skills learnt could be gross motor skills, problem solving, thinking and creativity, cooperation, self-awareness and nutrition education. This can also teach children patience as they wait for the crops to slowly grow.
Role-play, Storytelling and Singing
Many forest schools encourage all of these activities by allowing children to take and use materials found in nature which can facilitate the activities of role-playing, and storytelling. Learning about life cycles and singing together are also common educational tools for many forest schools.
Benefits of Role-Play, Storytelling and Singing for Children
These activities help guide children to better develop their language and communication skills, alongside promoting a child’s creativity and imagination. As nature is the key factor, children will also be self-aware and learn how to appreciate the world around them.
Baking and Cooking
Depending on the age of your child, you might discover that some forest schools offer the opportunity for children to bake things like cookies. This is a great indoor activity to promote the development of many vital skills in children and there are many benefits.
How Does Baking and Cooking Benefit Children?
Not only will baking teach your child basic math skills, as they will be measuring ingredients, but they will also improve their fine motor skills by mixing and pouring. Furthermore, as they read a recipe they will learn new vocabulary and start to tackle the concept of reading and comprehension.