The woodland environment is the perfect place to develop resilient, confident, independent and creative learners. Forest school sessions running throughout the year in all weather conditions will foster resilience and creativity as children have to adapt the way they tackle activities based on the seasons and the weather conditions.
The benefit of risk taking is acknowledged and children are encouraged to take considered risks and push themselves out of their comfort zone. This risk taking promotes confidence as children learn their physical and mental limits and become more capable of assessing situations and whether they are within their limits.
Creativity in forest school is not just developed through discreet, art or craft based activities. Being free to choose and explore the ways they approach challenges and activities fosters an environment where children are encouraged to think critically and creatively. The woodland is an open ended environment and the ethos of forest school encourages children to interact, appropriately, with any materials they find there. Simon Nicholson’s theory of loose parts, materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways, proposes that access to loose parts encourages children’s creativity and provides a greater range of opportunities. The forest school environment is rich with loose parts – stones, logs, sticks, leaves, soil, rope and a multitude more are on hand and accessible in every session.
Leaders at forest school sessions do not teach children or tell them what to do. They provide ideas, activities and resources and facilitate opportunities for children to pursue their interests. This child led learning encourages independence and supports self reliance. Children learn that they do not have to seek adult approval before attempting something or, by default, rely on adults to help if something does not not go to plan. Children attending forest school sessions over time become increasingly confident in making significant decisions about their learning.