We started Forest School at Merton Court in September 2012. It is a concept that originated in Scandinavia in the 1950’s. The philosophy of Forest School is that the outdoors is used to facilitate learning. It encourages the children to have an awareness and respect for the outdoor environment and nature.
Children are encouraged to develop independence skills, improve their decision making and raise their self- esteem through small achievable tasks.
Self-esteem is a critical aspect of child development. Forest school promotes confidence through positive praise and recognising personal success.
Sessions at Forest School are child led to accommodate individual learning styles and schemas; children are encouraged to make choices and follow their own learning. The adults’ role is facilitative and enables observation and assessment of the children by the qualified Forest School leaders Miss Amphlett and Mrs Saunders who are assisted by the teachers and assistants.
Teachers, practitioners and parents involved with children who have participated in Forest School in other settings, report significant improvements in independence, self-esteem, social skills, concentration levels and the ability to work co-operatively with peers and adults.
We have found by giving children the combination of freedom and responsibility in a safe environment they have become more confident, inquisitive and able to manage risks for themselves.