What is Forest School

What is Forest School


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.

22 thoughts on “What is Forest School”

  • Woodland Classroom says:

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  • Jackie Charlton says:

    This is so brilliant and the subtitles so much appreciated.  Will share with our group.  I have no doubt that adults would feel exactly the same.  We all need fun in our lives.

  • Jackie Charlton says:

    It was so good to see.  I spend so much of my time nagging and winging that it was such a pleasure not only to see the subtitles but that they made sense and were not voice recognition.  Was it easy.  I have been told it is but no one has actually explained how it is done.  Would be good if I knew so could pass on instead of just nagging.  Good to hear from you. Jackie

  • Great video! Outdoor education is so valuable. It supports children's development and the curriculum in many key areas encouraging gross motor skills, problem solving, language, team work, health and safety to name but a few! I think it should be a fundamental area of learning incorporated into every school… more and more schools are getting on board but there is more work to be done. Keep going, your invaluable to future generations! 🙂

  • How safe are our children and are all adults vetted? What are the safety factors and certificates involved and what approval from councils are in place? Is their overnight activities and stays? Appreciate the feed back as I grew up in a rural area on a farm and think it sounds good as long as it is governed and approved by child safety programmes in place!

  • I love that comment! … Being 'fuel to the fire,' and I'm pleased to hear that the young lad isn't stuck to the tele with glue : )

  • I was just wondering, Besides building self-confidence and independence activities, are there any resources which could help them in their intellectuals (subjects) ?
    How will the children be able to catch with with their academics and how will they be able to prepare for the primary/elementary schools when they grow up?

  • Hi, I'm really interesting in this idea.In Spain i think there not are primary forest schools (from 6 to 12) but there is the begining.

  • Hi! what a nice video! Thank you. I currently dealing with a project on FNS, I just wondering that do children in FNS go to their nature classroom everyday? Or do they just go out like once per week?(and if children do in this way, what happened to them in the other days of a week?) Thanks in advance.

  • Can we get trained by you? not mentoring but I would like to come and participate and learn to become a Forest School Educator.

  • Maria Del Mar Diaz Celdran says:

    Hello. I am Maria I live in London I will start my Level 3 course in October. I cant wait! But I am worry because I dont have any idea. My experience in Forest is just walk around 😅 Should I need study o prepare something before my training? Thanks

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