Being in nature makes most children very happy, the 2022 Children’s People and Nature Survey reveals. Research shows that Forest School increases wellbeing and nature connectedness, developing a meaningful connection to and understanding of the natural world and our place within it.
Forest School 2023
Anne Bartlett, Education Officer at the Goodwood Education Trust and a Forest School practitioner, says, ‘Forest School is a child-centered inspirational learning process that allows children to develop holistically through play, exploration and supported risk-taking. At Forest School children are able to develop self-confidence and creativity in a non-judgmental nurturing environment.’
Forest School is child-led, allowing children to follow their own interests and develop at their own pace. Activities might include den building, woodland crafts, tool skills, fire lighting, campfire cooking and exploring habitats. Anne continues, ‘Through these activities, children develop greater independence, self-awareness, resilience, problem-solving skills, communication and language skills alongside gross and fine motor skills.’
At Goodwood, Forest School takes place in Seeley Copse, a semi-ancient woodland specifically dedicated to learning experiences. Forest School is based in one of three fire circles, each offering its own unique setting and opportunities for play and exploration. Children are further given the opportunity to explore the wider woodland and estate with walks along the nature trails. The stunning new Education Centre provides a dedicated space for those attending Forest School, offering facilities and shelter if needed with space to continue to explore and play.
Forest School can be offered on a termly basis, with weekly half-day or whole-day sessions that can incorporate time in the woods with forest activities. Staff are skilled at working with children with social, emotional and mental health needs, for whom time in the forest can be particularly rewarding.
Day-long holiday forest sessions are offered through the West Sussex school holidays, with the next sessions being held on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 February 2023.
The Goodwood Education Trust is an educational charity that promotes awareness and understanding of the environment to children and adults from schools, colleges, community groups and charities across the country. Set up in 1976 by the current Duke’s father, the 10th Duke of Richmond, its vision is to inspire a love and understanding of the natural world.