Forest Schools originated in Denmark in the late 1980s and were a fundamental part of their early year’s education. Children were encouraged to explore and embrace the outdoors through carefully planned external activities, based mainly in forests.
After hearing about the success of the forest activities, a team at Bridgewater college employees visited a Forest nursery in Denmark to see how they operated. The employees from Bridgwater were so impressed with the structure and exciting activities they saw, that they decided to develop their own ‘Forest School’ in the UK. Since then the concept of outdoor learning has become a reality and all counties in England have their own state or privately funded Forest Schools. Bridgwater College have also been the driving force behind setting up Forest Schools in Jersey, the USA, Canada, Europe and more recently in Mexico.
In a Forest School classroom, the carpet is never the same; in Spring we see the flowers and new life, Summer brings out the leaves on the trees, in autumn we see them drop and in winter the snow can be used as a covering of discovery. At Wild Foresters we are looking to capture the curiosity and imagination of children and use it to develop the national curriculum in an outdoor classroom. All ages can access the curriculum in this way as each child is treated as an individual and are given tasks they can achieve.
We give children lots of praise and aim to develop their self-esteem when they try to achieve a task or practical activity. Whilst giving them attainable goals, we also feel that it is important to challenge students and make sure all activities are stretching the child’s ability.