Forest School

Forest school is an opportunity for children and young people to experience a holistic approach to learning in a woodland environment. This unique educational approach is designed with the children at its core and is proven to build confidence and self-esteem as well as a deeper understanding of the natural world. Forest school believes in learning from hands on experiences, this can range from outdoor play, using tools, building dens, making fires or many more outdoor activities which are both designed by the leader and instigated by the children themselves. Building a sense of independence, high self-esteem and social/communication skills are important parts of forest school however health and safety considerations are always of paramount importance.

Forest School

The programme adopts a long term approach to outdoor play and learning. It focuses on the individuals that take part in the programme and their journey through forest school. Children engaged with forest school will take part in activities that are designed to motivate and provide a broader understanding of themselves and the natural environment in which they live. Forest school promotes a healthy and safe approach to outdoor learning and encourages children’s development.

We can create tailored forest school programmes to meet the needs of your group or organisation and create sessions that are designed to target specific outcomes like increasing confidence or building on risk awareness skills for example. The forest school programme puts an emphasis on child lead activities and encourages children to try things that interest them.

A minimum period of 6 weeks is recommended for forest school programmes to encourage long term development and a deeper involvement with the programme and activities.

Forest School for all ages!

This is a great time to be starting Forest School to gain the longest possible benefits, the forest school approach was first developed to support the early years curriculum. Forest School is hugely beneficial at this age because of the rate at which children develop in the early years. The years from 0-5 are extremely important as far as development is concerned, in these years children learn processes that will shape them for the rest of their lives. Forest School complements the early years curriculum and allows young children to get outdoors and gain the huge benefits from engaging with nature. Forest school is child led and works in small ratios to allow for the best opportunities for experiential learning. Our staff are also trained in the Forest Kindergarten approach and with these tools we can help develop programmes that encourage children to be engaged outdoors in the early years.

Forest school as been widely used within the primary school sector for many years now and is an invaluable opportunity for children to be learning outdoors. Forest school promotes independence and develops children’s resilience. The sessions are adapted to meet the needs of the children and offer great opportunities to develop confidence, increase motivation and physical activity. This approach encourages the children to problem solve, think creatively and use their imagination. Forest school complements the Curriculum for Excellence for Outdoor Learning which states “Integrating learning and outdoor experiences, whether through play in the immediate grounds or adventures further afield, provides relevance and depth to the curriculum in ways that are difficult to achieve indoors.”

Forest School for young people aged 13-18 provides lots of opportunities that will challenge them and engage them with learning in a far more practical way. Our approach allows young people to develop skills that will increase their independence skills and develop their self-confidence. Through these opportunities young people have the chance to try fire building, den building and using tools outdoors. In a world where far more young people are staying indoors or are criticised for the time they do spend outdoors, it is absolutely vital that we provide opportunities for positive outdoor interaction. We must provide a space that allows young people the opportunity to grow and develop skills that will help them throughout adulthood.

We have lots of experience working with families, parents and carers and developing outdoor programmes for everyone to enjoy. Creating opportunities where parents/carers and their children can engage with forest school together is a hugely rewarding experience for all participants. It is a great opportunity for children to see their parent/carer engaging with them outdoors and through this process we hope to inspire further outdoor use and play long after the forest school programme. It is a really exciting moment for children to see their parents/carers playing with them outdoors and as their primary care giver you will be the biggest influencer in that child’s life. We want to encourage long term play and learning outdoors that both children and their parents/carers enjoy taking part in.

Forest School is open to all ages and with its flexible approach allows for the programme to be adapted to meet the needs of each individual taking part. Adults can gain a lot from the forest school approach and allows the opportunity for adults to connect with nature, meet new people, develop self-confidence and inspire them to get outdoors more. In the busy world that we all live in now, it can sometimes be an element we forgot, to get outdoors, breath the fresh air and allow ourselves to relax. Being outdoors is rejuvenating for the mind, body and spirit and we see it is as an essential part of our lives. We can create a programme to get adults outdoors, connecting with nature, releasing that inner child we all have and most importantly making it an enjoyable experience, because that alone is what will encourage people to go outdoors more, they must enjoy it!

Forest School Quick Info

  • Forest School is based outdoors and runs all year round.
  • Child lead and encourages children to shape the session.
  • Participants will be encouraged to try new things, learn new skills in a fun and safe outdoor environment.
  • Forest School is active, healthy and good for all round mental and physical well-being.
  • A six week programme of forest school is encouraged.

Activities we might do at Forest School

Is Forest School for you?

We can work with all groups to create a forest school programme unique to you. Examples of groups include Schools, Community Groups, Charities, Private Groups, Local Government, Housing Associations, Organisations, etc.

Operation Play Outdoors

Forest School FAQs

Yes, of course. We offer taster sessions ranging in length from 2 hours, half day or full day sessions. This gives you the chance to try some Forest School activities and see what works for you. We will also be planning some drop in Forest School sessions throughout 2016 so watch this space.

The cost depends on many factors. The length of programme, location, and how many are attending. If you get in touch we will put together a proposal set to your requirements and work out the most cost effective Forest School programme for your organisation or group. We have experience in finding funding for groups and helping with funding applications. Our taster sessions are also charged with the above factors in mind.

We have permission to use various parks throughout Glasgow and further afield. When you make an enquiry we will ask for your address and from that give you a list of potential options for forest school sites. By delivering forest school this way it allows us to bring the programme closer to you and thus encouraging long term forest school benefits. If however you would like to escape the city for a session or more we have various options outside the city to choose from.

Yes, it is important that when you book a Forest School programme with us that you include a staff member or helper to attend on the group/organisations behalf. We are responsible for running the forest school programme as well as the safety of the session but a supervising adult must be present during all sessions to ensure the group management and being responsible for getting children to and from Forest School. We expect the staff member or supervising adult to help out where possible and within reason. It is important for participants to see staff and adult helpers taking part and modelling good practice within the forest school environment.

Benefits of Forest School
Forests make you feel better!