05/02/2021

Categories: Early Years and Childhood Studies, Undergradute

Forest School and its Role in Child Development

Forest School and its Role in Child Development

Anyone interested in early years and childhood studies will have heard of Forest School. Practitioners use the outdoors as a learning environment and provide experiences that complement indoor learning, home learning and other teaching environments. Children enjoy being outdoors, and it is undeniable that they learn new skills in this environment, but can Forest School really support child development in the early years?

Being outdoors is essential, fresh air, exercise, time in the sun, interacting with nature. These are all things that any health or education practitioner will tell you are important to development and wellbeing at any age. Forest School takes this one step further, turning the whole outdoors into an interactive learning environment. Doing so encourages problem-solving, calculated risk-taking, and communication skills. It also helps children to develop confidence and self-belief over time. Most importantly, it makes learning fun and gives new respect and understanding for the natural world.

Improving Health

Health is an integral part of child development. We learn better and are more focused when we are fit and healthy. Being outdoors is an important part of this both in terms of physical and mental health. Forest School supports young children in developing healthy bodies and minds. Children are physically active during Forest School sessions and are faced with new tasks and challenges. As they overcome these in a supportive environment, they develop their self-esteem, confidence and resilience.

Risk-taking

We live in a very risk-averse society. This means that young children are often kept away from anything that could potentially do them harm. While this is understandable as we have a duty of care, it also means that children do not learn to manage risk and understand how to challenge themselves safely. Knowing why some things are dangerous, why precautions should be taken, and what it means to calculate risks are vital skills for young children. During Forest School, young children learn this through practical activities that include fire, knives, pointy sticks and many other natural elements, including the weather.

Achieving

All early childhood studies talk about the importance of children being able to achieve. A sense of achievement encourages children to try new things, to push themselves further, and find new challenges. When children can accomplish new things in Forest School, they take this sense of achievement back into the classroom or other learning environments. For children who find it hard to sit still, the physical nature of Forest School makes it easier to achieve and develop confidence in their own abilities.

Why Choose the University of Bolton?

A Guardian Top 50 UK University, the University of Bolton has been named No. 1 for Student Satisfaction for the past three years*. When you study an early childhood studies course with us, you gain access to some of the top professionals in early years education and child development. Your Early Years degree teaching takes place using the latest methods, practical experiences and guest speakers. You gain the skills and knowledge you need to follow any number of careers within early years and childhood studies. You can choose to give back to your local Greater Manchester community or move further afield in the North West, either way you will be well prepared with any of our early years courses.

Get in Touch

Whether you are looking for a career in Forest School or want to follow any other child development path, early years and childhood studies courses are a must. Find out more about Bolton University by getting in touch with us today. For any questions concerning disability support, funding, finance, accommodation in and around Manchester, wellbeing or anything else, our award-winning Student Services team is here to help.

Check out the early years and childhood studies course page, email enquiries@bolton.ac.uk or call +44(0)1204 900 600 to find out more about enrolling for the next intake.

*Complete University Guide 2021, 2020, 2019 – North West Region.

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