At Avon Tyrrell we offer Forest School inspired programmes based on an educational approach to outdoor play and learning, which encourage and inspire young people through positive outdoor experiences. Forest Schools is an international movement providing a specialised learning approach which sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education. It provides all learners regular opportunities to achieve, developing confidence and self-esteem, through hands-on learning experiences in a natural environment.
The learner centered approach puts each individual at the forefront of their own learning, allowing for different learning styles to be embraced. Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
Forest School consists of regular sessions over a period of time – long-term contact with Forest School is crucial in allowing children the time and opportunity to learn and develop confidence at their own pace.
Program content is led by the young people – focusing on what they need – so that they may get the most out of their experiences. Sessions cover a wide range of National Curriculum outcomes, with a strong focus on the emotional, physical and mental development. Before starting a Forest School program, our experienced practitioners will discuss with you the specific areas your group would like to focus on, and do all they can to achieve their aims.
Forest School activities may include, but are not limited to:
Opportunities to use natural materials for building and artwork
Secret places – enabling imaginative, exploratory and creative play
Interaction with the environment – tree climbing, fire making, treasure tree
Personal and social development – children gain awareness of the consequences of their actions on peers through team activities such as sharing equipment and participating in play.
Physical activity - Development of fine and gross motor skills, showing an increased awareness of the space around them.
Self-esteem and self-confidence –Pupils are continuously given opportunities to see what they can achieve and encouraged to be independent in their activities.
Changes and development of attitudes, beliefs and values
Motivation - Providing experiences within a new learning environment fascinates children and helps develop a keenness to participate.
Concentration – Children’s ability to concentrate and be more self-disciplined has been linked with contact to nature.
Creativity – Providing an opportunity for extended fantasy-based play encourages the development of imagination and creativity.
Environmental ownership – Active participation within a natural environment fosters strong positive feelings to the natural world. Young people who participate in Forest Schools have been shown to develop positive
Knowledge – Seeing a connection between abstract concepts and the real world, developing a more confident approach to problem solving and learning new strategies. Developing an increased knowledge of the environment and being able to recognize key species and habitats.
New Perspectives – Children often develop new values and beliefs based on their experiences of Forest Schools, and adults are able to see their young people interacting in a new way.
Language and communication – Facilitation of natural spontaneous talk and the use of descriptive language to explore an unfamiliar environment can result in children being more confident, and better able to communicate with peers and adults.
Those with Special Educational Needs are experiencing Forest Schools programs in a wide range of settings, and this is having a very positive impact on behavior and learning, resulting in the ability to build stronger relationships, and ease the stresses of everyday life.
Dr.William Bird (2007) Natural Thinking: Investigating the links between the Natural Environment, Biodiversity and Mental Health.Accessed here
O’Brien and Murray (2006) A marvelous opportunity to learn: A participatory evaluation of Forest School in England and Wales.Accessed here
Maynard (2007) Forest Schools in Great Britain: an initial exploration in Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Volume 8, No.4.
Borradaile, L (2006) Forest School Scotland: an evaluation. Available here
For more information, or to enquire about availability and discuss how we can develop a programme for you, please contact our Education Team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01425 672347.