October 14th 2022, marked the 4th year of Forest School Day. With each passing year its popularity is celebrated both in school and beyond with nature-based activities.
Forest School is a unique way of promoting learning in children. It focuses on creating a positive learning environment, tailored to suit a child’s needs, and learning styles that maximise the emotional, social and developmental benefits of education that helps children build positive values about themselves, their learning and the environment.
Time is given to explore their thoughts, feelings and relationships and they are encouraged to understand, appreciate and care for the natural environment. Forest School provides opportunities to take risks, make choices, find new ways of working, initiate learning, develop practical skills and become confident and capable people.
Dr Mike Richardson and his colleagues discovered that although visiting nature once a week (contact) provides general health benefits it is ‘nature connectedness’ that is associated with eudemonic wellbeing (a sense that one’s life has meaning and is worthwhile). Nature Connection helps people to feel self-worth and find their purpose, aims also shared with the Forest School philosophy.
> Feed the senses. Autumn has its own unique sounds, crunchy leaves, splashing puddles, smell the cooling air as summer subsides and autumnal fires are lit. Observe the changing colours of the season or the density of the foliage after a brisk autumn wind.
> Collect Acorns and Conkers, string together and create counting beads.
> Identify trees by the leaves that fall from their branches.