Forest School

Forest School is an inspirational programme that offers children, young people and adults regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence through hands-on learning in a woodland environment. It addresses the stresses in society that result from ever-decreasing contact with the natural world – a phenomenon known as Nature Deficit Disorder.

Forest School started off in Britain in the mid-1990s and is based on Scandinavian practice which considers children’s contact with nature to be extremely important in their development. Key features include:

We are supporting Forest School on two fronts. Firstly, we are working with Eastwood Community Centre and Nursery School in Roehampton (southwest London) which serves the second largest housing estate in Europe – the Alton Estate. Eastwood is a Forest School and some children arrive there having never been into a park, scared even of getting dirty or walking on leaves! The enthusiasm that their regular outings to a nearby park generates is touching to witness! The key is regular visits to the same area as familiarity deepens involvement and interest: having favourite  trees to climb, awaiting the arrival of tadpoles and knowing where to find them, experiencing the changes that occur with the changing seasons. We have produced a short documentary film for Eastwood both to demonstrate the programme to its own teachers and parents and also to take out to other schools in order to spread the word. The film was made by a broadcast television team - supporters of ours and at minimal cost.

Secondly, we are part-funding the creation of a new and independent charity called The Forest School Association (FSA) which will form the National Governing Body for Forest School in the UK. Forest School is a movement which has developed rapidly in the UK – it is estimated that there are around 9,000 trained practitioners to date! However, it is a grass root movement which has “gone feral” with a disparate range of training providers, varying curricula and three different diploma awarding bodies. There is a need to create the FSA in order to promote and maintain quality, recognised standards and to develop and maintain professional status for Forest School practitioners. FSA will be a representative of the Forest School community coordinating and supporting research into its impact and helping spread the movement at the national level.

How can you help?

Current projects

Click links below for further information:

Past Projects

Ecuador, India (Orissa), Kenya, Madagascar, Nepal, Niger, Sudan, Zimbabwe