Hello. My name is Lea.
And I’m James. We’re both Forest School leaders and co-founders of Woodland Classroom.
And in this video, we are going to answer the question, What is Forest School?
Forest School is, well, it’s school but you don’t really do work. It’s just to have fun
and do some lovely activities. Most commonly, Forest School sessions are
run for children aged 6 to 11 years but actually Forest School works for all ages and it has
been proven to do so. There are many successful projects throughout the UK which engage with
adults that need to improve their physical health or perhaps their mental well-being.
A typical Forest School set up has a campfire at the center, surrounded by circular seating
in the wild woodland setting, which is there for learners to explore. The campfire itself
acts as a focus perhaps for concentration or for further activities such as cooking,
making hot drinks or even trying fire lighting with the learners themselves.
The emphasis isn’t on competition in the activities but rather on self-development, teamwork and
learning through play. So there are no tests or exams to pass or fail. But children are
praised for good effort for skill sharing. There are lots of social skills that can be
developed through play which involve conflict resolution, the art of cooperation and compromise.
It’s all done in a fun, nurturing environment. Most of the time we do outdoor stuff, really
fun stuff like capture-the-flag and fire lighting and I’ve been currently doing axe work and
whittling. You could be really creative by making a den
and exploring the woods I think is really fun.
Forest School originated in Scandinavia in the 1950s where the people have a much closer
cultural connection with the woodlands and it has spread since then into the UK in the
mid-90s. But the idea of Forest School is much older
than that. It’s a way of learning that’s as old as prehistory, as old as human beings.
We’ve been learning for much longer outside with our elders and with our peers around
the campfire, learning in natural environment, than we have in the last couple hundred years
in the formal classroom. So there’s something very instinctive about Forest School and it’s
getting results. To be out in the wild, you feel so free and
you get to be with your friends and it’s so there is lots of excitement. You get to feel
like you’re a person living in the wild. Nature in itself is an antidepressant. You
can’t come away from time in nature and feel more angry or more anxious. You will always
feel a better sense of well-being. Why do you think it’s good for you?
Because ’96 the great outdoors in it. I always come back despite the cold with rosy
cheeks. I feel invigorated, energized. The kids always look healthy. They’ve always got
stories to tell their parents and I never ever regret going out. Time in nature is always
a positive experience every time. In the Woodland Classroom, the approach is
very much on child-led play and children being at the center and focus of their own learning
experience, their journey of self-discovery. We’re there to facilitate rather than teach.
We have the knowledge and we can guide them with the skills and experience we’ve got,
but it needs to start with their interest first. They’re the spark and then we just
need to add fuel to the fire. So why is it good for you?
Because you’re outdoors having fresh air rather than inside reading a book or stuck to the
television with glue. So I prefer being out here. It’s much nicer.
What do you like most about it? Every aspect of it is amazing. I really love
it. So we hope we’ve answered your question and
if you have any comments or experiences you would like to share, leave a comment below.
And you can find out more about our work and get free resources by visiting our website.
Click the link in the description below and subscribe to this YouTube channel or please
share it with others if you know someone else who’s asking this very same question, What
is Forest School? Thank you so much for watching and we will see you again soon on the Woodland
Classroom channel. Thank you.
I like foxes.