‘Forest School allows the relationships to build in a collaborative way, where learning is occurring on both sides in a real life situation in a truly amazing way. The child is the teacher and learner, the practitioner is the observer and facilitator and the environment is a cohesive whole that offers the fabric of the learning and teaching to all involved’.
Forest School is a process that happens over a prolonged period of time, and this is what makes it a unique educational approach setting it apart from any other outdoor learning processes. It focuses on the whole child (not only academic ability) and how they can develop their own learning styles at their own pace. Learning styles are the different ways in which children best absorb and process information: learning by doing, linguistic, interpersonal, mathematical and visual.
Contact with nature helps children to develop cognitive, emotional and behavioural connections to nearby social environments and is important for encouraging imagination and creativity, cognitive and intellectual development and social relationships.
Comes from understanding of how we, ourselves, others and our peers and also how the environment impacts on us and importantly how we impact on each of those aspects of our lives.
Once we have a basic self-awareness we are able to self –regulate our actions, thoughts and feelings.
The role of our practitioners is to enable our children to become responsible for these thoughts, feelings and actions.
Is the ability to regulate our emotions. Practice is the best way and the development of successful reflective processes practices will enable individuals to be able to evaluate how successful the behaviours were and if the right responses were created in that situation.
Is the ability to channel our emotions in a particular direction to achieve a set goal. This will start with short-term goals and will enable satisfaction of achievement to enable the individual to set longer term goals. Children who can put off immediate self -gratification have been proven to make longer term goals that lead to better training, personal investments and better prospects.
Is something we have to grow with through our lives. These develop over time and directly related to the interactions and attachments that are built up between parents, their babies and children, the peer group and the practitioners that look after, nurture and care for our children.
Is the skill of being able to see as closely as possible how someone else may understand their “map” of the world. Past experiences, reactions from others, values and beliefs will change the view of the person and it is through listening to others that we gain a greater insight into other people’s point of view.
We are a part of the eco system, the natural surroundings, we are at one with it, but we have become estranged and the value and wisdom of the forest has long escaped us. Now leaving quietly with it, learning through it, becoming one again means peace and wonder can come back to our lives and we have a greater opportunity to grow and to be and to love and to endure the pleasures and the pains of what our lives will bring to us.