History of Forest School
Nature Kindergardens originated in Europe in the early 19th Century as a way of learning about the natural world. By the 1980s this concept became an integral part of the Danish Early Years Programme.
The concept of Forest Schools originated from the Scandinavian Education system with the idea of encouraging and inspiring children through positive outdoor experiences. The Scandinavian model puts children firmly in control of their own learning and adults assist and facilitate their play. Being outside is embedded in the ethos of many European nurseries and most children spend a day a week in the outdoor environment.
The development of Forest School began in the mid 1990's and was brought to England by staff of Bridgwater College, following an exchange visit to Denmark in 1993. In 1995 a group of students, nursery nurses and lecturers from the College began to apply the same principles to childcare provision back in Somerset following the visit. In doing so, they became the pioneers of the Forest School concept in the UK. Forest School was born!
Since then there has been growing interest and demand for this provision as Forest School fits well both with traditional views of 'good' early childhood education and more recent curriculum frameworks in England and Wales. Many local education authorities have embraced the concept and are focusing on implementing Forest School activities in the Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1 & 2.
Forest School is an inspirational process that offers individuals of any age, regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence, self-esteem and gain skills through hands on learning experience in a natural environment.
"Children have a natural affinity towards nature, dirt, water, plants and small animals attract and hold children's attention for hours, days even a lifetime"