Leighswood School

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Forest School

Why Forest Schools?


Forest School is a long-term programme delivered ideally in a woodland setting or natural space. It provides regular sessions with opportunities for emotional development that are delivered in an holistic way. Sessions build on child-led achievable experiences that incorporate physical, social, intellectual, communication, emotional and spiritual opportunities. These nurture a sense of community where the learner can achieve and thrive.





Forest School facilitates their interaction with the natural world in a positive and often magical way, where children can learn to become more aware of and manage their own emotions, develop self-motivation and social skills and nurture empathy in response to challenge and perceived risks. This all happens within a safe, calm environment where a sense of community is nurtured. The teaching of skills such as tool use, shelter building, woodland crafts and campfire cooking can be used to support the social, emotional and physical development of the child, where self-esteem and confidence are nurtured. This leads to the long-term development of life skills such as teamwork, resilience, perseverance and empathy


What is Forest School?


Forest School has a developmental ethos shared by thousands of trained practitioners around the world, who are constantly developing their learning styles and skills to support new and imaginative learners. Its roots reach back to the open-air culture, friluftsliv, or free air life, seen as a way of life in Scandinavia where Forest School began. It arrived in the UK in 1993 and has grown from strength to strength since then.


The process helps and facilitates more than knowledge-gathering, it helps learners develop socially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually. It creates a safe, non-judgemental nurturing environment for learners to try stuff out and take risks. Forest School inspires a deep and meaningful connection to the world and an understanding of how a learner fits within it. Our approach to risk means that learners constantly expand on their abilities by solving real-world issues, building self-belief and resilience. We believe that risk is more than just potential for physical harm, but a more holistic thing, there are risks in everything we do, and we grow by overcoming them. Forest School therefore, helps participants to become, healthy, resilient, creative and independent learners.


6 principles

  1. Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.
  2. Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a lifelong relationship between the learner and the natural world.
  3. Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development and learning.
  4. Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
  5. Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
  6. Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners, who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.