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The Forest School Association definition is “an inspirational process that offers all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment.”

Heart of the Wildwood offers short forest school sessions in woodland locations hosted by Forest School accredited session leaders. Learning at forest school is ‘self-led’. We don’t run many structured activities and we don’t insist the children join in when we do. Here’s a typical session

A Heart of the Wildwood outdoor classroom could be a longer session or a series of short sessions based at one of our woodland locations or in one of Oxford’s parks or nature reserves. Learning stations fulfil curricular needs, but the focus is on self-led learning rather than guided instruction.

Melanie Kinghan, founder of Heart of the Wildwood has this to say about forest school:

“Through self-led learning and free play outside it is possible to gain skills, experience, confidence and self-esteem in a way, that indoor settings can’t offer. Outdoor learning is a way of engaging with your inner strength by testing boundaries in a protected and safe environment, where it’s allowed to take risks, spend time dreaming, getting dirty and engaging with others in a new way.

“Through showing respect to plants, animals and other people in the woodland environment children begin to interact with the environment on an emotional level, they grow holistically and do things they never thought themselves capable of.”