The ethos of Forest School follows the six principles that are agreed by the UK Forest School Community and endorsed by the Forest School Association.
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-centred processes to create a community for development and learning
Overview of the Ethos of Forest School
Learning in the outdoors involves the whole person – mind, body and soul. It places young people in real situations and encourages them to take responsibility and reflect on their actions. Motivation and learning come easily when you need to build a shelter, or make things using natural products.
In Forest School, children are never set to fail. Instead, they are given appropriately challenging and achievable tasks that build their confidence, skills and independence. The activities lend themselves to teamwork, and developing and improving social interaction.
Forest School has the potential to unlock talents that would remain hidden in formal teaching. Learning in direct contact with nature can challenge attitudes and values and encourage lifestyles based on quality of life rather than material possessions. It encourages self-respect, respect for others and respect for the environment.
Forest School provides opportunities through adult enabled and child led activities that enhance the development of each child’s physical, intellectual, linguistic, social and emotional skills. Development in these areas can be observed throughout sessions by the practitioner and feedback to the class teacher, thus enriching teacher assessment by providing evidence of deep learning through the application of skills beyond the classroom.