UK Perspectives.

(Bath Spa University, Date unknown)
The UK’s perspective on Forest School has changed and developed over time. In the UK Forest Schools have continued to grow and more are being set up for example in Worcestershire, in 2014 there were three hundred and sixty Forests Schools alone (Barkham, 2014). Moreover in Essex there are two hundred and fifty groups that take part in Forest Schools which again shows a high level of involvement (Knight, 2013). In addition, there are training courses available to develop     Forest School leaders in order to provide and maintain the quality of provision. According to “the Forest School Association charity, it has helped 12,000 teachers and other professionals undertake training” (Ward, 2015). This can indicate that the UK sees Forests Schools as an important and valuable experience and learning opportunity for children and therefore it may be seen as important to want to continue to train Forest School leaders so this provision can be maintained for children in the future.

(McCormack, 2014)
Forest Schools can be available and used by children of all ages though in the UK they are mostly aimed at children in the Early Years and Key Stage One (Knight, 2013). Forest Schools do vary from one to another this could be due to a number of reasons such as resources available, the needs of the children or time available. Though there are elements which occur in the majority of Forest Schools in the UK such as children have the freedom to choose what they play with and a time where children are able to come together and talk about what they have done (Forest Schools UK, 2009). This could happen by a lit fire with a snack. John Dewy Believed “children learn by doing and that education should be based on real life situations” (Doyle and Milchem, 2012, p. 7) Forest Schools can provide real life experiences such as cooking and den building where children can build on their skills which they can use in later life. As well as allowing children to learn in a practical way and they enabling them to follow their own curiosity and explore their environment.

In this day and age children are getting fewer opportunities to play outside due to a number of factors including more traffic on the roads, parents concern about safety, fewer outdoor areas for children to use and electronic games that can be played indoors (Pace, 2014). Therefore it is seen that Forest Schools have a vital role to play in children’s learning and development and this can be seen in the vast growth of children attending theses sessions. According to ITV News (2013) there are around one thousand Forest School sessions happening each month. This goes to show how the UK have taken inspiration from other countries especially in Scandinavia and have adapted what they have seen in order for children to experience and benefit from Forest Schools. Though being and learning outside is not a new concept to the UK and more information on this area can be found in the section named the history of Forest School. As in the UK the McMillan sisters were the first people to open the first open air nursery (Doyle and Milchem, 2012). Nowadays children are being encouraged more to be outside and as long as they are appropriately dressed why should they not be outside?

To conclude Forest School in the UK have continued to expand and develop although should more be done to ensure all children are given the opportunity to experience Forest Schools? Also the UK is beginning to realise the importance of Forest Schools to children’s development and though learning in the outdoors is not a new concept it has certainly come into the public’s eye more recently as the benefits are being identified.

Author Laura 

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