Forest School at Smile & Shine

Forest School is an educational approach that emphasizes the importance of learning in outdoor, natural environments. Originating in Scandinavia in the 1950s, the Forest School philosophy has since spread to many other countries, including the UK, where it has become increasingly popular in recent years. Forest School programs typically involve regular outdoor sessions, where children are encouraged to engage with nature, explore their surroundings, and develop a range of skills and knowledge in a holistic and child-led way.

The Forest School approach is based on a set of core principles, which include a respect for the environment, an emphasis on child-led learning, and a focus on developing personal, social, and emotional skills. In a Forest School session, children are given the freedom to explore and discover their environment in a safe and supportive setting, with a qualified Forest School leader providing guidance and support. Activities may include exploring the natural world, building shelters, lighting fires, and engaging in creative and imaginative play. The emphasis is on fostering curiosity, creativity, and independence, while also developing important life skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, and risk assessment. Ultimately, the aim of Forest School is to inspire a lifelong love of nature, and to equip children with the skills and knowledge they need to become active and engaged members of their communities.

The SIX Principles

Frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment

1

Supporting the development of a relationship

2

Holistic Development

3

Supported risks

4

Qualifies Forest School practitioner

5

A range of learner centred processes

6

Forest School helps learners to overcome challenges, build self-regulation and self-reflection skills and have time to work through real world problem and apply learned experience skills and solution to the new situation and environments.

Overcoming challenges or risks help build resilience and confidence especially when risk and challenge is explored through play.

Forest School focusses on creating holistic benefits for the children. Holistic development means we inspire multiple levels that is physical, emotional, social, spiritual and intellectual development. It develops curiosity, creates relevant and current inspiration.

Forest School children are more able to problem solve, their vocabulary and communication skills are really developed, and their reading, writing and maths improve.

Unwanted behaviour decreases in severity.