Forest Schools

Learning Beyond the Classroom

Since October 2014 Ghyll Royd School and Pre-School has used Forest School as an approach to supporting outdoor learning. Participation in Forest School encourages development across all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage and main school and research has shown Forest Schools to be hugely beneficial for children with a range of emotional and developmental needs.

Each term all children from Reception to Form 6 take part in our Forest School programme, taught by our in house qualified Forest Schools Practioner. This may involve exploring the woods as a group and collecting treasures, building a den or simply taking your lesson outdoors away from the classroom. The development of Forest Schools began in 1993, and is based on a Scandinavian idea that recognises the importance of children’s contact with nature.

Forest School’s have a multitude of benefits for children including:

  1. Confidence
    Forest School helps children to grow in confidence as a result of the freedom, time and space they are given in their learning. This allows them to demonstrate independence at each individual child’s rate.
  1. Social skills
    Activities such as sharing tools and participating in play help teach the children to work together as a group, which strengthens their bonds and social ties.
  1. Communication
    The sensory experiences provided by Forest School’s helps prompt language development. Improving communication skills has a positive effect on a child’s self-esteem and is a crucial part of their development.
  1. Motivation and concentration
    High levels of interest lead to high levels of attention. Spending time in the woodland is exciting for a child. It tends to fascinate them which develops a strong will to participate and concentrate over long periods of time.
  1. Knowledge and understanding
    Children develop an interest in the great outdoors and respect for the environment. Encouraging children to develop a relationship with the natural world will help in protecting the environment for generations to come.
  1. Levels the playing field
    Taking children outside of the classroom removes the pressures of academia and allows them to play to their strengths. This is beneficial to children who struggle in the classroom because there is more of an opportunity for them to learn at their own pace.
  1. Enjoyable for the children
    Forest Schools are fun! It is educational whilst also allowing children to play, explore and discover.  Children who participate in Forest Schools are generally observed to be happier. The fresh air, the excitement, getting mucky – it doesn’t get child friendlier than that.