What is forest learning?

 

Forest learning is an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and
develop confidence and self esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural
environment.


From the Forest School Association:
Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider
context of outdoor and woodland education.
‘Forest School is a feeling you can’t put into words.' Tonicha, aged 9
The ethos is shared by thousands of trained practitioners across the UK and beyond. Its roots
reach back to early years pioneers in outdoor learning and across the sea to Scandinavia.
‘I don’t have ADHD when I`m out in the woods.’ David, aged 14


People of all ages and abilities can benefit from the woodland therapy that is forest learning, a long term
process taking place in woodlands or a natural environment. It promotes holistic development and fosters
resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.


In forest learning, participants are viewed as equal, unique, valuable and competent to discover and
explore. They are also entitled to take risks and face challenges, to choose their own learning, to
experience success and to develop positive relationships with people and the natural world.


Many forest school tasks encourage mindfulness and help participants to live ‘in the moment’. They focus
on a task of their choosing, and practice new skills. It also promotes improved mental wellbeing as
participants reconnect with nature and experience woodland therapy.


Activities in forest learning therefore are not scheduled or planned, they are decided upon by participants.
This way they can lead their own learning and take inspiration from others. Types of activities offered by
Forest Horizons are:


• Wild food foraging, including wild mushrooms
• Fire making
• Outdoor cooking
• Den making
• Tree climbing (to 5m)
• Woodland art
• Working with traditional woodworking tools such as brace and bit, saws, knives and axes
• Tarps and shelters
• Whistle making
• Willow weaving
• Material foraging (hazel, ash and other trees)
• Tree identification
• Food growing