Forest schools are inspirational, innovative and educational spaces which provide incredible learning adventures and help to significantly develop the self-esteem and confidence of children and young adults living with learning challenges, including ADHD and Autism. Set within woodland or open spaces with trees, Forest Schools provide a unique learning approach which was initially an idea that originated in Scandinavia.
Combining education with nature, Forest Schools consist of bespoke education buildings that help deliver the unique learning approach, which is all about putting the learner at the centre of everything. Sharing a common set of principles, each session and programme undertaken with the Forest School takes into account the different seasons, enabling children and young adults to discover and explore the different worlds in nature created by the change of season.
Relationship Building Between Pupils and Natural World
The holistic environment Forest Schools provide is proven to have a calming effect on pupils. Run by qualified practitioners who continually develop their own skills and knowledge, they encourage the development of positive relationships between student, other people and the natural world, to drive their own learning potential and ability to develop.
Evidence has been shown that children of all ages quickly ‘connect’ with the world around them, when this may previously have been a problem. Providing the solitude that may be craved and the lack of judgement, the natural world is seen to spark the imagination of the children and young people whilst at the same time, teaching them which parts of the woodland are safe and which are not.
This has, undoubtedly, led to an increase in confidence in children as well as encouraging significant communication with others where none had previously existed. Not only do the woodlands and the natural surroundings contribute to the mental wellbeing of children, the buildings in which the schools are run also add to this (http://www.educationspaces.co.uk/).
Not only have children been seen to increase their confidence, but also vastly improve their speech, including those afflicted with speech impediments. The combination of fresh air, innovative learning approach and understanding of the natural world enables pupils to work things out for themselves without having to rely on others to provide them with the answers. In other words, the children take ownership of their own learning and development, naturally and effectively.