What is Forest School?
Forest School is based more on the process of learning than on the content - more on the 'how' than the 'what'.
This means that genuine Forest School practice steps boldly out of the shadow and limitation of 'planned activities' and ventures collaboratively into the realms of the unplanned, unexpected and ultimately unlimited.
Children and young people are given encouragement to direct their own learning - this often requires catalysing on the part of the Forest School leader either through stimulating play in the outdoors or through 'scaffolding' a child's learning, but mostly through simply observing how children are in the outdoors.
Significantly, and on many levels, a woodland environment is central in supporting this very dynamic approach to learning: the passage of time, from the changing of the seasons, to the contemplation of an ancient tree; the dynamic nature of an outdoor environment - an infinite source of smells, textures, sounds and tastes; a range of visual stimuli from near to far, high to low, very big to very small; and the infinite layers of historical, cultural, spiritual and mythological significance that speak of our deep relationship with trees and woodland through the ages.
There are six principles of forest school:
1) Long-term and frequent sessions
2) Must take place in a wild environment
3) Promote the holistic development of all involved
4) Opportunity for supported risk taking
5) Run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously develop their professional practice
6) Use a range of learner-centred processes to develop a community for development and learning
The woodland does not have to be huge, at Wood Learn Forest School, we pride ourselves in making effective use of the available resources whether they be a school playing field with some trees, an environmental area or a copse.