What is Forest School

This short video answers the question "what is forest school" and gives an introduction to the subject, by forest school leaders and also the children who attend and why they love it.
It is a useful resource for teachers, or parents looking for ideas for children's activities outdoors.
#forestschool #outdooreducation #childledplay #unplugged #outdoorclassroom #woodlandclassroom #naturelearning #woodlandactivities #kidsoutdoors
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37 thoughts on “What is Forest School”

  1. This is so brilliant and the subtitles so much appreciated.  Will share with our group.  I have no doubt that adults would feel exactly the same.  We all need fun in our lives.

    1. +Jackie Charlton Hi Jackie. Glad you liked the video. we thought it was important to have subtitles on to make it as accessible to as many folk as possible. Thanks for sharing, and we’re currently working on our next videos so watch this space.

  2. It was so good to see.  I spend so much of my time nagging and winging that it was such a pleasure not only to see the subtitles but that they made sense and were not voice recognition.  Was it easy.  I have been told it is but no one has actually explained how it is done.  Would be good if I knew so could pass on instead of just nagging.  Good to hear from you. Jackie

    1. +Jackie Charlton Hi Jackie. It’s not to difficult to get subtitles put onto the video but the maker of the video – in this case us – have to make it happen. We paid someone to transcribe the video and then we had to paste that document into various settings here to make it all work.
      So – please spread the word and share this video with your friends and colleagues at the community woods. Speak soon.

  3. Great video! Outdoor education is so valuable. It supports children’s development and the curriculum in many key areas encouraging gross motor skills, problem solving, language, team work, health and safety to name but a few! I think it should be a fundamental area of learning incorporated into every school… more and more schools are getting on board but there is more work to be done. Keep going, your invaluable to future generations! 🙂

    1. +Ness Logan Thanks Ness. We agree. We would like to see Forest School incorporated into the curriculum for all children. So many kids learn better in an outdoor environment.

    1. +William Affonso Thanks. I love New England. My mother lived in Vermont for a number of years – it’s an amazing place to get kids outdoors into the wild – and you’ve got proper wilderness over there, not like the UK.

  4. This is one of the most beautiful things i have seen in a long time. Beautiful, you guys are heroes.

    1. +Orange the Orange Thanks so much for that – made me smile. Do you get involved in outdoor education much yourself?
      We’re working on more videos so watch this space for more stuff 🙂 james

    2. No, unfortuonatly. I live in one of Europe’s most forested countries, and my window view is all green. I’d like to know a lot more about forests and plants, but, you know, it just keeps slipping away 🙂  

    1. Thanks Mark – good to hear from you. Yes, it’s a rewarding way to spend your time. Have you been teaching long?

    2. +Woodland Classroom Hi, I’ve been in education for 20 years and always enjoyed bushcraft so decided to combine the two and have been doing FS for about two years.

    3. Great to hear it. There does seem to have been a growing swell of interest in taking more and more learning outdoors and bringing nature based activities into al sorts of subjects – or maybe that’s just the circles I move in *l*

    4. +Woodland Classroom Definitely, we (Scouted.org.uk) have just added a Maths Outdoors and WW2 history sessions to the portfolio!

  5. How safe are our children and are all adults vetted? What are the safety factors and certificates involved and what approval from councils are in place? Is their overnight activities and stays? Appreciate the feed back as I grew up in a rural area on a farm and think it sounds good as long as it is governed and approved by child safety programmes in place!

    1. Hi Louise, thanks for your comments. I can only speak for how we run our own sessions though there are also some recognised standards that most Forest School leaders will adhere to. Four ourselves, we and anyone we hire are DBS checked and there’s always at least one first adder present for sessions. In terms of safety you have to do a risk assessment for each activity and produce safe methods of working, which can change according to the age of kids or their abilities. Nationally there is a recognised qualification for Forest School leaders (Level 3 certification) which includes many aspects of safe working as well as loads of interesting stuff about the benefits of teaching kids in an outdoor environment. You can take a look at the Forest School Association website which will have some advice on how forest schools operate and what their members sign up to. We are members of Forest School Wales which are a similar organisation to FSA. There can be overnight sessions, we don’t do them ourselves yet, but staff would need additional training beyond the Forest School leader certificate to undertake these as a higher level of childcare is involved. Some councils really support forest school projects and link up with freelance leaders or encourage school staff to deliver sessions, it can depended for place to place. the good news is that the movement is growing and more and more people are becoming familiar with it. If you want to know more, drop us a line 🙂

  6. I love that comment! … Being ‘fuel to the fire,’ and I’m pleased to hear that the young lad isn’t stuck to the tele with glue : )

  7. I was just wondering, Besides building self-confidence and independence activities, are there any resources which could help them in their intellectuals (subjects) ?
    How will the children be able to catch with with their academics and how will they be able to prepare for the primary/elementary schools when they grow up?

  8. Hi, I’m really interesting in this idea.In Spain i think there not are primary forest schools (from 6 to 12) but there is the begining.

    1. There are some alternative schools in Spain, but nothing quite like a Forest School— yet!

  9. Hi! what a nice video! Thank you. I currently dealing with a project on FNS, I just wondering that do children in FNS go to their nature classroom everyday? Or do they just go out like once per week?(and if children do in this way, what happened to them in the other days of a week?) Thanks in advance.

    1. Hello – glad you liked the video. To answer your question, lots of schools and setup have different arrangements. In Scandinavia it’s very intergrted into school life and timetable. In the UK it can be built into the school programme (for very lucky kids0 or it can be an occasional day out to the woods. Ideally Forest School programmes should be run over a long period of time with the same children so that progression can take place, and the child can build a relationship with the natural world.
      We run session with school and groups but also as kids club throughout the week including after-school sessions, home education and a parent & toddler group.

    1. Hello – sorry about the delay in getting back to you. The answer to your question really depends on which session we are running. Following the Forest School approach it’s ideal to have a high adult to child ratio so that the children can get more attention from the activity leaders. We run full day activity sessions which usually run from 10am – 4pm, so 6 hrs. We run an after-school club in the woods too which is a couple of hours and that runs throughout school term time. If a school were to run their own Forest School programme then it’s better to run session over a long period (at least 6 weeks) so that children can get used to and comfortable with the outdoor learning space, gain confidence and become inquisitive about nature in that space.
      I hope that all helps. James

  10. Can we get trained by you? not mentoring but I would like to come and participate and learn to become a Forest School Educator.

  11. Hello. I am Maria I live in London I will start my Level 3 course in October. I cant wait! But I am worry because I dont have any idea. My experience in Forest is just walk around 😅 Should I need study o prepare something before my training? Thanks

  12. Big thumbs up! My partner and I are talking about starting a forest school….we find your school inspirational

    1. Thanks Kimberly – best of luck with your venture. Get in touch if you have any questions about starting up.

  13. Amazing illustration. Thanks for your uploading it. Can you share your opinion about why it is named as “Forest School”..

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