The importance of outdoor learning
Daily access to the outdoors when in an Early Years setting is a statutory requirement for all children. Outdoor learning/play is a critical component of good provision and must be encouraged. It is essential for the healthy development of all young children. Learning outside offers oppurtunities to build on and extend skills taught and aquired inside. It also offers the chance to take on new challenges and risks and to investigate in a different way. The physical freedom of learning outside through climbing, exploring, running, jumping and balancing supports development of the young childs body towards finer movements that will be required for such skills as writing. Experiencing the weather, searching for insects, climbing a tree or working on a large scale is learning that can only happen outside.
The magic of Forest School
Originally a Scandinavian idea, forest schools operate on the principle that children of all ages can benefit greatly from the hands-on learning opportunities inherently present in a woodland environment. In an age when many children have few opportunities to be outdoors, it offers them a way to learn and experience a broad curriculum in a woodland setting, with regular visits throughout the year.
Forest School is an inspirational process that involves:
- Child initiated learning;
- Being outdoors;
- Integration with the National Curriculum;
- Time for children to explore, learn and investigate;
- Fun, imagination and creativity;
- Using only the natural resources around us.
Forest School helps to develop:
- Communication and self-esteem;
- Communication and social skills;
- Physical development;
- Greater understanding and awareness of the natural environment;
- Natural motivation and a positive attitude to learning;
- Creativity and imagination;
- Team skills;
- The ability to recognise and manage risk and healthier lifestyles.