The introduction of Forest School at Cutteslowe is an exciting and significant step in helping to achieve the school's vision.
The continual development of the school grounds to increase opportunities to engage and explore the environment will aid in every individual’s holistic development. It will also inspire a greater understanding and respect for the outdoors and one another, with the benefits being taken forward beyond Cutteslowe and into later life.
So what is Forest School?
Learning in the outdoors isn’t something new. For centuries there have been various organisations and movements trying to encourage individuals to get outside and use nature for learning. Yet the introduction of Forest School to the UK has been a ‘grassroots movement’, driven by those who passionately believe the gentle ethos benefits children and young people.
In the mid-1990s, a group of Early Years professionals from Bridgwater College, Somerset, had returned from visiting a Danish Forest School. The children freely explored their environment and were seen to grow in confidence, show greater appreciation for the natural world they lived in and often took responsibility for their own learning. Such foundations helped to raise academic achievements too. The professionals were so impressed by this approach that they developed a ‘Forest School’ back at their own children centre and with the college, developed training for other practitioners.
Since this time Forest School has grown in popularity with all ages, backgrounds and abilities throughout the UK. In 2012 the UK Forest School community united to form the Forest School Association (FSA), which is now the UK leading organisation to promote quality Forest School for all.
Forest School can be defined as:
“ an inspirational process, that offers ALL learners 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 Association, FSA).
Wherever practiced, or whoever is delivering, Forest School is guided by a shared set of principles that aids in deeper cumulative learning with lasting benefits:
For more information: http://www.forestschoolassociation.org/