Each Forest Classroom is unique, but there are common elements to them all.
The Forest Classroom:
1. Takes place in a natural setting, with regular visits to the same place over a period of time.
2. Seeks to promote social, emotional, physical, spiritual, and, intellectual development in children and to foster resilience, independence, creativity, and confidence.
3. Encourages a love for nature and, in the case of a Christian Forest School, a deeper relationship with the Creator.
4. Provides opportunity for educational risk-taking under the guidance of supportive staff.
5. Provides for play-based learning and, as far as possible, is child-initiated. The teacher acts as facilitator.
6. Occurs in any weather except for wind and thunderstorms that can blow down branches. There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.
7. Requires trained staff with suitable additional staffing for an appropriate adult/child ratio.
Children today do not take or may not have the same opportunities to play outdoors as they did a generation ago. Long school hours, after school programs, time spent on homework, and safety concerns have crowded out lively outdoor play.
Here are a few things active outdoor play does for your child:
1. Stimulates brain myelination and overall brain development.
2. Stimulates the limbic system which in turn regulates emotions and attention.
3. Encourages left-right hemisphere connectivity.
4. Develops strong bone and muscle growth, protecting against injury.
5. Outdoor, natural light helps prevent nearsightedness, improves eye function as well as enhancing all the senses.
6. Strengthens the immune system.
7. Leads to a more active, healthy lifestyle.
8. Develops social skills.
9. Fosters resilience, creativity, and independence.
10. Facilitates a personal connection to nature and its Creator.
If you are used to a more traditional classroom, Forest Classrooms may feel uncomfortable. Take a minute, however, to think back over your childhood and learning experiences.
When was learning most fun for you? Wasn’t it when you had hands-on opportunities to discover or when you knew that you and your friends were learning together?
Learning the fun way is what our Forest Classroom aims to offer your child. We want them to explore, collaborate, and problem-solve in this time-honored yet innovative way. In this environment students can develop grit, determination, and the ability to persevere. Being outside literally broadens their horizons. Give them this opportunity.