Forest Schools Forest schools is taking outdoor education further by putting a learning bias on the child to take responsibility and risk, to explore and imagine, to reflect and understand. The learner is not always within the strict parameters of a set activity with support but is encouraged to lead their own path of adventure through the woods. Forest Schools can nurture confidence in the initial stages as there is often no “wrong” to activities so learners are free to express without fear of failure. Over continuing sessions they are allowed to develop their skills at their own rate crossing the barriers of incompetence to competence and sharing those skills when they are ready. Procedures for activities are taught to a rigid safety protocol which is learnt through modelling and encouragement. The essence of bushcraft/woodland survival at the heart of some of Forest School activities taps into our natural instinct to survive and to master these skills is the ultimate confidence booster. It is also a lot of physical play to be confident in your own body and its movements. To also quietly assume our place amongst nature is a calm and informed way of being that is rewarding in itself. More and more research is being published that links behaviour, learning and wellbeing to the outdoors and how it has very positive impacts (some references can be found at www.getchildrenoutdoors.org)
“Developing emotional intelligence through five key skills: Emotional intelligence (EQ) consists of five key skills, each building on the last: The ability to quickly reduce stress The ability to recognize and manage your emotions The ability to connect with others using nonverbal communication The ability to use humor and play to deal with challenges The ability to resolve conflicts positively and with confidence” (www.helpguide.org)
These aspects are embraced in everyday Forest School session activities, boundaries and safety information.
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