How Forest Schools Can Help In a Child’s Cognitive Development

Forest schools can seem like a strange new environment for both you and your kids if you haven’t had any prior dealings with them, however they can vastly improve your child’s cognitive development in many different ways. By going to a forest school as a refreshing alternative to mainstream schools, there are a number of activities your child will undertake that will help him or her grow both as an individual and a team member.

So what do forest schools actually do to help my child? How are they beneficial and how can I find more about them in my area?

Being Economic and Environmental
Forest schools encourage living with the land. It teaches children of the importance of the environment, how plants and trees work together to contribute to our own way of living and why preserving that is important. It also shows children how to be resourceful, listing good plants and bad plants and helping them to find ways in which they can help reduce their carbon footprint. Moreover, forest schools with modular classrooms, which may be built out of an old shipping container, tend to put the idea “reduce, reuse and recycle” into action and serve as a useful teaching aid for kids. Plus, with modular construction, eco-friendly technologies such as solar power and high-efficiency windows are also known to have been installed in such forest schools. In addition to being great for the environment, these help keep the school’s operating costs low, releasing funds that can be used for more important things.

Time to think without distractions
Spending time in a rural or even forest environment can be very calming, particularly if you just sit and listen to the world go by. The forest is full of its own natural sounds and rhythms that are often so unlike those that we hear in the cities and towns we live in day by day. By taking yourself out of that stressful environment, you allow your senses some time to relax. This ca

Physical and Mental Health
Forest Schools encourage mental, emotional and physical exercise, giving your children a well-rounded curriculum that is designed to test their abilities and encourage them to grow. As forest schools are set in the country-side, children will encounter a number of problems that they might not normally come across; such as building their own shelter, finding their way through the woods and other activities. By incorporating the forest environment into play and learning, children train themselves both physically and mentally, leading to an all-around healthier lifestyle.

Solving Problems Laterally
Forest schools encourage teamwork and encourage the concept of ‘thinking outside the box’ in order to get young children to realise that there may be more than one way to solve a problem. In many classroom environments, there is often a single way to solve a problem, a right answer and a wrong answer, however this does not always reflect adult life. By allowing children to realise that not every possible answer is a right or wrong one, it opens up new avenues of imagination and creation for them.

By solving problems with this method, they can grow as individuals and in team building exercises as they use their intelligence and imagination to work around problems. This focuses on children at an individual level, instead of perhaps thinking of them as a statistic to meet a certain quota; as some parents may fear with today’s educational system. It is important to allow children to grow at their own pace and develop their own way of solving problems and forest schools really help to cultivate this.

Finding a Forest School Near you
The more rurally you live, the higher your chances of being able to find a good forest school that doesn’t require you driving 45 minutes to reach it in good traffic. Forest schools are exactly what it says on the packet; schools set up in a ‘green’ environment, amongst nature in order to help give children useful survival skills while at the same time building on their existing skills.

Google, as always, is your friend and if you live in a village or other rural area, chances are you will have a few good options for local forest schools. You can also ask around the local schools to see whether or not any of them have dealings with forest schools, as some schools will partner with a forest school in order to provide children with a more rounded education. They are a great opportunity for children and certainly not to be missed, if you can find one at a place convenient to you!

Article provided by Bloo House; an innovative, independent forest school based in Surrey that is focused on providing a modern and unique learning environment to empower children with the ability to maximise their learning potential.

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