Forest School is a long-term outdoor education process that is holistic and learner-centred. It allows children to develop themselves through healthy engagement with risk, problem-solving and self-discovery, all within an inspiring natural environment in a hands-on, playful and thoughtful manner.
"Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul"
Friedrich Froebel, 1782-1852
Read this excellent summery of Forest Schools by Xenia Spencer-Milnes
“Teaching, in my estimation, is a vastly overrated function.... I see the facilitation of learning as the aim of education".
― Carl Rogers, 'Freedom to Learn', 1969
We are immensely proud of our Wildlings Forest School Programmes. Our difference is our commitment to developing private spaces for the purpose of delivering our Forest School and related programmes to the highest degree of authenticity and connection with nature that just isn't possible in public spaces.
Forest School Club
Our Forest School Club is our pride and joy. Parents can relax on a peaceful Saturday morning in Dempsey or the Botanic Gardens knowing their children are having outdoor adventures of their own with us. Parents who worry about excessive academics and indoor screen time can secure quality, meaningful, outdoor time for their children every week with Forest School.
From 12 months to their fourth birthday, we're committed to giving children the best start in life through our Forest School Playgroups.
Developing confidence, independence, creativity and resilience, all in an outdoor environment which invites children to move, to branch out of their comfort zones, to act on their instincts and to satisfy their curiosity for the living world.
Through the Forest School experience children spend meaningful time with their important adults who model the pedagogy along with the Leader. Children are treated with respect and considered to have a valuable input into their time at Forest School. Children may be young, but they are offered the opportunity to participate in real and authentic experiences in the natural world at Wildlings. We don't just look at plants and bees, we plant plants and build bee houses!
''The facilitator recognises the various signals given by the students indicating when and which way they want to go. The facilitator then creates the opportunity that enables them to go that way'
- David Charlton c.1980, 'Adventure Education'
The Benefits of Forest School
Check out our blogs that explore the multiple benefits a Forest School programme and community can bring to your child and family.
What is Holistic Development?
The benefits of Forest School are achieved through the combination of time spent outdoors in a natural setting, empowering children and holistic development. We don't believe that learners can regularly reach the state where they are shining with the brilliance of their discoveries and achievements unless, for example, they are full of self esteem and socially comfortable. Time spent at Forest School is so valuable because of its multiple benefits, more so then activities which focus on gaining knowledge, or proficiency in one thing.
Every session is a social occasion with activities included which foster the development of meaningful relationships
Our participants develop consciousness, self-control, motivation, and empathy within our community and with real friends
We walk, run, jump, climb, balance, hide, and move our bodies in a the multitude of ways provided by natural environments
We spend time being mindful. We express our gratitude. We look for the wonder in life and nature
We ask inquiry questions, provide open ended materials and design activities that invite exploration and ignite the imagination
Participants are given opportunities to problem solve independently and rise to the next challenge. Nature arts and crafts are popular activities
We build literacy into our sessions. Participants are talked to respectfully, listened to, and encouraged to speak up.
We learn about people, place and culture. Different cultures, celebrations, ethnobotany and history inspire many of our sessions