Outdoor Education

Forest Schools are Down to Earth while encouraging participants to Reach for The Sky

The philosophy of Forest Schools is to encourage and inspire youngsters through positive outdoor experiences in a local woodland, green space or natural playground.  The ideal is for children to spend time there for at least a half day on a regular basis which gives them time to experience, inquire, explore and learn through play. By participating in engaging, motivating and achievable tasks and activities in a woodland environment each child has an opportunity to develop not just physical skills but intrinsic motivation, sound emotional and social skills and greater self awareness.

Reversing ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’. 

Landmark books by Richard Louv’s ‘Last Child in the Woods’ have brought attention to the increasing issue of what he calls nature deficit disorder. Louv campaigns for ‘no child left inside.’ The evidence of the impact of children has been soundly researched. Studies have shown that due to busier family lives, combined with an increased sense of fear in society, children have fewer opportunities to explore their surrounding natural environment. This is hampering children’s social skills as well as risking stifling their long-term physical, emotional development and well-being. Therefore, it was important that schools did not overlook the opportunities that outdoor learning provides to bridge this gap.
There are a growing number of organisations seeking to help children spend more time outside.   The  Natural Connections Demonstration Project in the South West, is an initiative funded by Natural England, DEFRA and Historic England,  delivered by Plymouth University.  It is one of the largest outdoor learning projects in the UK. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/englands-largest-outdoor-learning-project-reveals-children-more-motivated-to-learn-when-outside. 
Follow the link to University of Plymouth booklet: Transforming Outdoor Learning in Schools: Lessons from the Natural Connections Project booklet which provides school staff with an introduction to the value and impact of well-planned regular outdoor learning.