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The Forest School Principles

“A Forest School is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning.”


The Forest School is defined by Forest School England as:


“ inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults, regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem, through hands-on learning experiences in a local woodland environment.”


Forest School is for all children and young people. Forest School builds on a child’s innate motivation and positive attitude to learning, offering them the opportunities to take risks, make choices and initiate learning for themselves. Forest School is organised and run by qualified Forest School leaders Forest School maximises the learning potential of local woodland through frequent and regular experiences throughout the year, not a one-off visit. Forest School helps children to understand, appreciate and care for the natural environment.


The Forest School six principles are:


Principle 1: Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.


Principle 2: Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.


Principle 3: Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners


Principle 4: Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.


Principle 5: Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.


Principle 6: Forest School uses a range of learner-centered processes to create a community for development and learning


As the children feel comfortable in the woods, the sessions become increasingly child-led and as such, Forest School is not about a set programme of planned activities. Children are given encouragement to direct their own learning. Forest School sessions are developed around the interests of the children participating. This is achieved through the Forest School Leader and other adults observing and reviewing what the children are interested in and development of skills.

"Forest School is so much fun and full of adventures. I love going and would like to visit the woods every day! It has made me feel far more confident in knowing what to do when I need some help. To me, Forest School is a 'Creative, Fun-Filled Adventure!" (Tahlia)