What do children do during a forest school session and what are the developmental benefits –
Learning outdoors in the environment dates back to 1900s and to Scandinavia, where play in natural surroundings has been seen as important since 1950s. Despite the name, Forrest school can be held anywhere from grassy parks to woodland and beaches. It also involves regular visits to the local park area and community allotments where we visit regularly. Activities vary each week depending on the weather as this sometimes determines the activity… for example, mark making with mud when it has been raining or experiments with things blowing when it is windy, sensory walks, foraging, hunting for minibeasts, playing in puddles, natural arts and crafts and much more.
Children experience risk, challenges and develop skills that are hard to teach in a classroom. Sessions are child-directed, so the range of activities that can take place are huge, but they all take advantage of natural resources and reinforce children learning to respect and care for the natural environment.