orest Schools have been established in the Scandinavian countries since the 1950’s. They grew out of necessity – the post war (WW2) baby boom highlighted the lack of space in pre-school provision, therefore Forest Schools grew in areas with an abundance of outdoor space. Typically, a Scandinavian Forest School utilised a basic farm building as a base, but children, up to the age of seven, spent the majority of the day outdoors with children using nature as their main resource. Well clothed babies would sleep outdoors in an insulated pram and would explore nature at ground level by crawling in the mud or undergrowth.
The Scandinavian model puts children firmly in control of their own learning and adults assist and facilitate their play. Children are encouraged to make their own decisions, engage in self chosen activities, take risks, develop problem solving strategies and use a variety of tools. (If you gulped at the last word, please see FAQ page!)
The Forest School concept was initially brought into the UK in the mid 1990’s by Bridgewater College in Somerset and since then it has grown across the whole of the UK in varying degrees. In Lincolnshire, it is fair to say, Forest School is currently in its infancy. Although our methods and views on childcare and education in the UK prevent us from recreating the Scandinavian model, we can embrace the principles and enjoy the many benefits of this holistic approach towards outdoor learning.
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