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Where are the benefits of Forest School for my child?

Forest school is an approach which builds your child's self-esteem and emotional intelligence, by fostering resilience, confidence, independence and creativity through use of the outdoor woodland environment.

Forest school promotes both emotional intelligence and self-esteem through a range of strategies and approaches. The environment is a key tool in empowering learners and giving them responsibility, for example, by involving them in risk management they feel independent and make significant decisions about their learning.

Forest school allows your child to first observe a new skill or activity being taught at base camp, and then gives them the opportunity to select an activity of their choice. This empowers your child to lead their own learning and focus on their unique interests. Adults facilitate learning and avoid ‘telling’ your child what to do, but rather aim to adopt the role of a supportive and encouraging adult, where observation is key. This fosters confident and resilient learners who are not continually looking to adults to direct their learning.

At Forest school your child will be encouraged to explore the environment within set boundaries, which fosters independent exploration allowing confidence and resilience to develop. This enhances self-esteem and confidence as your child feels they are able to explore without being interrupted and ‘told’ what they should or should not be learning. A child is given the responsibility and the independence to make their own choices which increases levels of self-worth as adults trust them to make decisions. Children are able to become creative learners, by exploring their environment and making choices about what activities and learning they engage in. Being in the outdoor Forest school environment for two hour sessions, fosters high levels of independence as children have to help get themselves ready by                                                     changing into suitable outdoor clothing and often manage their own backpacks and needs. 

Forest school also develops a sense of belonging as your child shares new and exciting experiences with others such as campfires and cooperative group and team games. Friendships develop and children help and support each other during outdoor learning which often yields different friendship groups to the indoor environment. Sometimes children who may suffer peer rejection indoors are recognised as having a new skill which increases their acceptance by peers and they subsequently find it easier to make friends.

Levels of self-esteem are also increased by careful and appropriate use of praise and recognition of success. This is possible for all children as tasks are ‘small’ and ‘achievable’. Your child will not be in a situation where they feel they cannot do an activity as there are no specific pre-defined outcomes.

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