What is Forest School?
Forest School is an inspirational process that allows kids regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a natural environment.
The system has become increasingly mainstream in Ireland and the UK in recent years, but it is nothing new, having informally existed here since the 1800s. The process grew in Scandinavia due to a lack of suitable indoor learning environments, and it became apparent that those that were exposed to Forest School showed strong social skills, ability for teamwork, high self-esteem and confidence in their own capabilities when they entered the formal education system.
It has become more popular in recent years as people search for a child-focused alternative to the teacher-focused classroom environment and has become more formalised through the establishment of Forest School Associations in Ireland and the UK. Kerkus Forest School is accredited by the Irish Forest School Association (IFSA).
Benefits of Forest School
Calculated risk taking
Independent and autonomous behaviours
Connection with and understanding of nature
Fosters confidence and independence
Increased sense of place and belonging
Forest School in the Media:
“Children Should Learn In The Great Outdoors”, The Guardian
“A Day At Kerkus Forest School”, Irish Forest School Association
“I could use my imagination and make up stuff.” 5 year old participant.
“We played with mud. I painted my face and arms. It was so much fun.” 5 year old participant.
“My son looked forward to Forest School every week, he enjoyed the new experiences such as using a peeler for the first time, building forts, and of course the roasting of marshmallows on the last day. He liked the free imaginative play and using/creating things out of nature.” Parent
"I didn't know much about Forest School until our son started with Kerkus Forest School. He loves it - he constantly talks about it and their activities, and draws pictures about it too! His confidence and play has been transformed. I can't recommend this activity enough... Great that this environment for learning is available in Dublin." Parent
“For individual kids it brought many out of their shells and gave them space to be themselves. I also noticed many becoming more reflective and relaxed.” Primary School Teacher