Forest school learning can have a positive impact on the way children play and their social interactions with others. Children might find themselves playing with a peer that they may not usually interact with if they share similar interests.
In a forest school one could say that there are more opportunities for imaginative play as children can use representation for differing items/resources. Robertson (2008) observed that children attending a forest school in Sweden;
“Played much more imaginatively. The games were more varied, they had a beginning and end which the children themselves decided upon.”
One of Frobel’s concepts is children using imagination and role play with natural resources, he placed great emphasis on children using their imaginations and letting creativity flourish while exploring the outdoors as Constable explains (2012).
“Young children have particular way of interacting with their world and of learning about and from it.”
Children are learning while they are playing and exploring, play makes learning fun.
While exploring and investigating the outdoor in environment children get the chance to take risks, test their boundaries and use all of their senses, this can have a positive impact on the children’s self-esteem and confidence as they achieve challenges they have set themselves.
In the Good Childhood Report (2014) children were asked ‘how often do you play outside?’ the results showed that children who played outside ‘most days’ had higher levels of satisfaction with life and happiness compared to those who never play outside. This information has been reflected upon in the section of the blog pertaining to government legislation.
This report provides evidence that playing in forest school and the outdoor environment can have a positive impact on children’s well-being.
“There are innumerable benefits of taking children into the woodland but, as prosaic as it may sound, just the fact that there is nothing to break or damage, nothing to keep in order or to keep clean, will often immediately relax children and adults alike and give a sense of freedom to any endeavour.”
Being in the outdoor environment can have a positive calming effect on children, they are more relaxed so their play can become more in depth, as they don’t have to worry about breaking or misplacing resources.
Most children prefer to be in the outdoor environment during their free play and given the choice would choose to play outside.
“The outdoors always comes out at the top of children’s priorities and favourite things in their early childhood education setting.”
Children can enjoy the freedom the outdoor environment offers as they learn, play and explore.