Forest School is a unique and diverse approach to Outdoor Learning. At Craigdhu, the focus is on developing children’s personal, social and emotional wellbeing and development through regular session in our outdoor settings.
These sessions may take place in our natural wooded environment or in one of our many playground areas. The ethos of Forest Schools is to provide all children with the freedom and time to explore nature and develop their intrapersonal and interpersonal skills in a supportive learning community.
Stepping away from the constraint of the 4 walls of the classroom, children can direct their own learning and be at one with nature, learning with and from others. The child led, play focus allows children to make meaningful connections in the world around.
Forest School has 6 key principles that create the Forest School ethos:
1. Forest School is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than one-off.
2. Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural environment.
3. Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a learner community.
4. Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
5. Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
6. Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners, who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
Forest School is supported within the Curriculum for Excellence;
"The core values of Curriculum for Excellence resonate with long-standing key concepts of outdoor learning. Challenge, enjoyment, relevance, depth, development of the whole person and an adventurous approach to learning are at the core of outdoor pedagogy. The outdoor environment encourages staff and students to see each other in a different light, building positive relationships and improving self-awareness and understanding of others."Curriculum for Excellence through Outdoor Learning, Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2010
"There are associated health benefits to learning outdoors. Research indicates that the use of greenspace or ‘green exercise’ improves health. In particular, learning outdoors generally results in increased levels of physical activity. In addition, interacting with greenspace (walking, gardening, etc) improves emotional wellbeing and mental health."Curriculum for Excellence through Outdoor Learning, Learning and Teaching Scotland, 2010