The Forest School approach is centred on raising children’s confidence and self-esteem, by participating in hands-on learning experiences in outdoor woodland environments.
There are many widely recognised advantages to the Forest School approach in Early Years Education. A Forest School nursery incorporates all of the essential areas of the Early Years Curriculum and moves the ‘classroom’ out into a natural environment where children can flourish.
“Forest School nursery is an innovative educational approach to learning, with outdoor play, in a natural woodland environment”
In this article, we highlight some of the key ways that children benefit from learning and playing in outdoor woodland environments, during their time at Forest School nursery.
Key Benefits of Forest School nursery and outdoor woodland learning
Increased self-confidence and independence
Here at Kids Love Nature, we place particular emphasis on assisting children in developing independence and self-confidence, through embracing freedom. When children enter our Forest School nursery they are entering a completely different environment, full of new experiences, people and challenges to overcome. Under the supervision of specialised staff, the outdoor woodland provides a unique learning environment that is naturally abundant with opportunities for children to grow by solving problems, working together, learning from mistakes, exploring and making choices.
In a natural world of opportunity, children feel empowered as they learn more about themselves and their own natural environment.
Click here to find out more about how we assist children in learning independence and freedom at Kids Love Nature Kindergartens.
Developing empathy for nature and for others
Teamwork is a central activity here at Kids Love Nature. Working as a team in the natural environment bonds children together within a group. Group activities in which children work together to solve problems allow children to become aware of the need to care for each other and their environment.
In working together to solve problems, children develop many invaluable life skills including improved communication, logical problem-solving, empathy with others and their environment, and enhanced friendships.
A study by The Forestry Commission into Physical Activity at Forest School, found that activity levels in Forest Schools are typically 2.2 times higher than during a school day which included PE lessons. The study points out that children should accumulate at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activity per day to promote good health, but there is little opportunity to be physically active at a typical school.
Activities really are active here at Kids Love Nature! For example, encouraging exploration is a core value that guides our daily activities and planned learning experiences, whether that’s getting into the nearby woodland to build a den or try their hand at a new sport. In encouraging children to explore their surroundings, not only do they remain active, but also develop key skills including learning from mistakes, encouraging independence and confident decision making. With acres of space at all of our locations, there is also lots to explore!
Learning by experience
It’s widely recognised by research that children learn best from experience, by actively using their senses, as opposed to passive learning. Learning from their own mistakes is a core ethos here at Kids Love Nature. We encourage our children to have the confidence to give something a try.
By observing children as they attempt to tackle a new task, our staff are also able to gain a personal understanding of how they deal with their emotions. Staff are then able to provide personalised support, that encourages them in the most appropriate ways.
Exposure to manageable risk
In the outdoor woodland environment, children are free to run around, make noise, get their hands and clothes dirty and experience manageable risk. Opportunities to take responsible risks is a core principle of the Forest School approach -
“Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.” - Principle 4 of the The six guiding principles of Forest School
Each of our five Forest School nurseries are specially designed to enable exploration and experiential learning, in a unique natural setting. Under the supervision of our trained staff, children are free to explore physically, socially, intellectually, emotionally and culturally, to take full advantage of our unique learning environments.
Click here to find out about our Forest Kindergartens and the unique learning environments they provide.
Ready to learn more about Forest School nursery?
Our blog is frequently updated with the latest news from our Kids Love Nature Kindergartens, we also cover many topics around your child’s development. If you would like to learn more about the Forest School approach and the benefits of a Forest School nursery, some of our most popular articles include Building a resilient child, Why Forest Kindergartens are best and How we help children to embrace nature.
If you are interested in learning more about our Forest School nurseries in Dorset and Hampshire, find your nearest Kids Love Nature location here to get in touch with our Kindergarten Managers. Our friendly team are happy to answer any questions you may have and can inform you about additional info such as our outstanding Ofsted report, our new Lytchett kindergarten and upcoming plans, and the age ranges of children we take. We look forward to welcoming you to your local kindergarten!