In recent years we have seen a development of Forest Schools across the UK, including here at Kids Play Childcare.
Fitting perfectly with our company ethos to connect children with nature, forest school sessions in MK have run for Preschoolers since 2018. Led by a qualified Forest Schools Leader, the sessions take place within a woodland environment either at The Childcare Hub or in a private area of nearby MK woodland, reserved for Kids Plays sole use.
The activities are varied and vary from tree climbing or den building to making hot chocolate on on campfires. At Kids Play, we’ve experienced at first hand the benefits of Forest Schools
- Building confidence and independence
Activities such as building dens, using potato peelers for whittling sticks and cooking on campfires are just some activities that inspire children with confidence and a sense of independence.
Qualified Forest School leaders will ensure that children taking part learn to assess the risk of these activities and make sensible decisions about how to deal with unfamiliar situations.
- Feeling empathy for others and nature
Working together in an outdoor natural environment helps children to create bonds and build friendships. It also makes them aware of how to care for one another and support each other.
Not only do children improve their social skills but Forest Schools will also help them to develop an understanding and a respect for our natural world.
- Physical Fitness/Activity
As you would expect with children running around and climbing trees this helps to develop muscle strength, aerobic fitness and coordination. A Scottish study found that activity levels were 2.2 times higher in a Forest School session compared to that of a typical school day including a PE session.
Forest Schools also sees an increased development of gross and fine motor skills.
- Improved Mental Health
In today’s world children are experiencing increased stress caused by a range of pressures, from school exams to social media.
Many mental-health professionals acknowledge that maintaining a relationship with nature can be very helpful in supporting children’s emotional and mental wellbeing.
- Not just children who learn
Forest Schools is also highly beneficial to staff and not just children. Observing children learn in an outside environment allows staff to gain a new perspective and understanding.
It also helps to encourage staff to explore new opportunities on how to teach children and improve their knowledge.
- Increases learning outcomes
Not only does Forest Schools improve learning outcomes for children but also for parents/carers. Naturally children are really engaged with Forest School sessions and they will often take their learnings home to share with friends and family.
This often encourages families to get outdoors and visit their local parks and woodlands more frequently.
- Having fun
Ultimately, Forest Schools are fun! From firsthand experience we know that children at our Kids Play venues love Forest Schools.
Although the main benefits of Forest Schools are educational, Forest School sessions also allow children to play, explore and discover.
The concept of Forest Schools originated in Scandinavia. The teaching approach was widely adopted in Denmark throughout the 1980’s and was believed to be the solution to the lack of indoor facilities for Pre-School children.
In the early 1990’s a group of nursery practitioners visited Sweden and witnessed the benefits. Following their return to the UK they developed a programme for Forest Schools. Forest Schools has now become widely accepted across the UK and the approach has taken on its own unique flavour which is being adopted elsewhere in the world.
Forest Schools at Kids Play
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