Made for the Outdoors

Learning Naturally

Adder and Ash Forest School Ethos


Dedicated to facilitating learning in the outdoors as a way to educate children of all ages; I aim to enable access to the forest as an opportunity for learning by creating a safe, child-led, and therefore motivating environment. To facilitate this provision I will continue to learn, grow and develop after every session through reflection and assessment leading to greater understanding and an individualised approach.


My forest school aim is to provide an experience for children from all areas and backgrounds to access the countryside and outdoors; to have the freedom to learn in their own time and in their own way about themselves through nature. The approach is full of activities, excitement and freedom; I understand how important it is for children to have independent time to play, laugh and have fun in order to access their own learning.


In allowing independent learning, it aims to develop emotional intelligence: to raise levels of self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, empathy and social skills. The woodland setting is chosen to foster independent, resilient, motivated, creative and confident learners.


The methods through which this is achieved are modified to take into account the needs of the group by observing and reflecting on sessions: incorporating participant-led as well as teamwork activities and tasks based around learning skills and developing knowledge and understanding of nature woodlands and ecology; practical woodworking skills; survival techniques; fire safety, management and proficiency; cooking in the forest.


The extended period of time spent in the forest will provide great opportunity for the children to explore; learn new skills and get a really good feel for the outdoors environment in the way that educational theorists such Steiner, Montessori and Reggio have outlined in approaches to development and following research by cognitive and behavioural theorists: fundamentally, that children engage better when they are given the freedom to experience life through their own means and following their own desires and interests.

Forest School Association

The six key principles on which the Adder and Ash ethos is based have been developed by a network of Forest school practitioners and training providers during its 20 year existence in the UK and can be found on the Forest School Association website..


1. Forest school aims to promote holistic development of participants fostering independent, resilient, creative and confident learners.


2. Forest school sessions are led by trained and qualified level 3 Forest School Practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.


3. The sessions take place in a natural woodland setting or similar which promotes the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.


4. Forest school programmes are long term - ideally running for a whole year of weekly sessions so that each of the seasons can be experienced. The programme progresses through a reflective process involving planning, observation, review and adaptation.


5. Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to themselves and the environment.


6. Forest school is participant-led and uses learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.

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