the history of forest schools

Topics: Education, Outdoor education, Alternative education Pages: 3 (1003 words) Published: February 25, 2014

Summerise the history of Forest School Locally and in the UK

‘Forest School in the UK may seem a fairly new movement. In reality it is based on a rich heritage of outdoor learning going back at least to the 19th century.  Philosophers, naturalists and educators in Europe and the UK such as Wordsworth, Ruskin, Baden Powell, Leslie Paul (who founded the Woodcraft Folk in 1925), Kurt Hahn (who founded Gordon stone and was the inspiration for our first outdoor education centers), Susan Isaacs and the Macmillan sisters all laid the foundations for what is known as Forest School today. During the 1970s and 80s our education system moved toward a more teacher/outcome-centered approach in an attempt to improve numeracy and literacy, in particular, and we had the introduction of the national curriculum.  Somewhat in response to this, there was a growth of ‘alternative’ educational models in the 1990s and it is in this context that Forest School emerged.’ A brief history of the development from the Forest School Association.

The Forest School model originates in Scandinavia and involves participants journeying by foot (if possible) to a local woodland environment to learn outdoors on a regular sustained basis. In 1993 a group of childcare students visiting Denmark witnessed the benefits of Forest School for themselves and brought the idea back to Bridgewater College. On returning they devised way to apply forest schools to their childcare center. Since then the idea has grown and Forest Schools are spreading throughout Britain.

Margret McMillan was a socialist Christian. She was very interested in education and she fought for reforms to improve the health of young children, wrote several books on nursery education and pioneered a play-centered approach. She was very interested in how children could learn outside and how it benefitted them. It wasn’t until after her life that her thoughts and theories were put into practice, a college was opened in her...

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