Forest School for Your Pupils
Forest School aims to encourage and inspire children and young people through immersive outdoor experiences. It provides an opportunity for individuals to explore nature in a safe, secure and hands-on way. At Gower Wild Wellbeing our aim is to enable young people to feel connected with their own local natural environment in a way that will build robust mental health, confidence and self esteem, and encourage a greater appreciation of the natural world.
What are the Benefits of Forest School?
Forest School can benefit all pupils and large amounts of research has shown that it often has a lasting positive impact on children who struggle in a formal learning environment. We regularly work with children who have a variety of complex needs, liaising closely with all stakeholders and developing personalised experiences for each child.
Being child focused places emphasis on the journey rather than the outcome and when engaged in regularly Forest School provides emotional time and physical space for child-led learning to come alive. Many of our sessions are also infused with nature connection mental health practices, such as mindfulness.
Our sessions help young people develop:
A positive mental attitude, self-motivation and independence
Resourcefulness, self-regulation and resilience
A sense of peace and wellbeing within them that often has a positive impact upon daily life at school and at home.
All forest school and nature based wellbeing sessions are designed specifically to meet the individual needs of those taking part. We deliver to school groups and also on a one to one basis and cater for all school aged children.
How forest school nurtures a connection with the natural world...
The term 'forest bathing' was first coined at the Chiba University’s Centre for Environment, Health and Field Sciences, where they also state that "the smell of naturally dried wood calms prefrontal brain activity and relaxes the human body". The sense of calm that envelops us as we spend time in the woods reduces stress and relieves tension, helping us to have a positive frame of mind and a healthy outlook on the world. Being a child can be sometimes quite challenging, especially within the confines of the modern education system. The calming effect of being in the woodland can help to promote feelings of connection as the participant associates the natural environment with the positive state of mind they experience whilst outside. The fresh air and peaceful sounds, exercise and inspiration that can be found in the woods generally always has a positive effect on the wellbeing of the child, giving them experience of their natural local environment as a place of rejuvenation and relaxation. This is something they will hopefully always remember, which enables them to have the option to take solace in the woods whenever they need to as they become adults.
Forest school activities foster a sense of connection by facilitating a deeper understanding of the natural world and how it works. Activities such as bushcrafts and woodworking are opportunities to work directly with the natural materials that the individual has sourced, creating a connection between the participant, material and object produced. This can help a child to make sense of the world and where things come from, helping them to feel grounded and confident.
Observation and identification of flora and fauna builds awareness and knowledge of the wildlife encountered during Forest School sessions. Taking part in such activities enhances participants experience of being outdoors as they begin to look more closely at the environment and see and understand the world with new knowledge and skills.