What is Forest School?

Forest School 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 with trees.

Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.

There are many wonderful outdoor programs available. Forest School is different from Nature School, Outdoor Ed programs, Bushcraft, Enviornmental Education, Coyote Mentoring, etc. Each of these programs has its own focus and particular way of doing things. In this same manner, Forest School has its own philosophy and methodology.

Principles of Forest and Nature School

  • Takes place in a variety of spaces, including local forests, creeks, meadows, prairie grasses, mountains, shorelines, tundra, natural playgrounds, and outdoor classrooms.
  • Is a long-term process of regular and repeated sessions in the same natural space.
  • Is rooted in building an on-going relationship to place and on principles of place-based education.
  • Is rooted in and supports building engaged, healthy, vibrant, and diverse communities.
  • Aims to promote the holistic development of children and youth.
  • Views children and youth as competent and capable learners.
  • Supports children and youth, with a supportive and knowledgeable educator, to identify, co-manage and navigate risk. Opportunities to experience risk is seen as an integral part of learning and healthy development.
  • Requires qualified Forest and Nature School practitioners who are rooted in and committed to FNS pedagogical theory and practical skills.
  • Requires that educators play the role of facilitator rather than expert.
  • Uses loose, natural materials to support open-ended experiences.
  • The process is as valued as the outcome.
  • Requires that educators utilize emergent, experiential, inquiry-based, play-based, and place-based learning approaches.