Much research has been done over the last decade into the benefits of outdoor learning and Forest Schools in the UK. In our own experience of running FS programmes since 2008 we know of many benefits to participants both immediately through direct observation and in the longer term through subsequent evaluation by schools and groups.
Some of the benefits we have observed are:
Emotional growth, increase in self reliance and independence, allowing participants to take responsibility for their own learning and development
Promotion of holistic and individualised development through the encouragement of child initiated projects extended with sensitive adult support.
Development of respect and care for the natural world, and increase in children’s knowledge and understanding of the outdoors.
Improved physical strength and stamina through regular access to a varied and challenging environment
Increased practical skills, coordination and dexterity through the use of tools and natural resources to make chosen artefacts.
Supporting development of personal and social skills and to aid the building of relationships within real life contexts.
Enthusing participants to transmit their experiences through writing, storytelling and pictures back in their educational setting.
Extending knowledge and enthusiasm of the programme at home, as children are keen to show their skills and encourage family members into the outdoors