Forest School

Forest School is an inspirational process, that offers children 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 complements the wider context of outdoor education.

Forest Schools in the UK have been adapted from a Scandinavian approach to learning. The original source of the concept was from Sweden and has spread to other Scandinavian and European countries. It is growing rapidly as a direct response to the realisation that in the digital age our children are spending less time outside, taking fewer risks (and therefore not recognising and managing risk effectively) and suffering from what has been described as ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’.

Risky Play and why children need and love it

Our Forest Schools are slightly different in that we believe the children should be exploring nature through their own eyes - not just being shown by an adult. So once our children are familiar with the safety aspects of being in the woods, we allow them to lead the way and choose when to linger and when to move on - the journey is much more interesting this way! At TCG we have three Level 3 Forest School Practitioners, including Ed, one of our Founders who is also a Bushcraft Leader and member of the Institute for Outdoor Learning.

Here at TCG, we use a lovely large wood nearby the children and staff travel in style in our three Forest School trikes. These Winther Cargoo bikes were bought from Denmark and make the journey to and from Forest School part of the outdoors' experience (we have a safe risk-assessed route). Once in the woods we have access to the many acres that surround our main 'base camp'. We learn about our natural surroundings, try new skills (like sawing wood), have a fire and explore, climb and create stories which come back with us to the nursery and sometimes become exciting projects to take further. This is one of the reasons why a member of the Montessori Room staff always accompanies the children to ensure that powerful interests are followed up back at TCG.

The holistic skills, understanding and experiences developed through a Forest School experience are transferable to the rest of a learner’s life. Improved confidence, self esteem, problem solving, social, emotional skills and independence are particularly relevant lifelong skills. Forest School also transfers to the wider community. Once children enjoy playing in natural places this enthusiasm spreads to their family increasing visits to wild places and encouraging them to use gardens more frequently and widely.

We visit the woods regularly, but we also have outdoor learning based at the nursery in our large garden. Our outdoor learning is run by our lead Forest School practitioner. Have a look at our Outdoor Learning page for more information.