What's so great about the great outdoors?

October 17

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What’s so great about the great outdoors?

I’m sure most of us know that spending time with children outdoors is good for them, but do we really know why? I must admit that until stumbling across the Forest School movement I hadn’t given it much thought. 

It came about by chance, a friend of mine lived in a village with a fully outdoor preschool, she happened to mention in conversation that she saw the children walking to the site in all weathers. I thought it sounded interesting and I wanted to know more. I read about the Forest School ethos and it resonated with me. The aim of Forest School is to promote holistic development by supporting emotional intelligence, building confidence and self-esteem as well as physical development and at the same time fostering a connection with nature and the world around us, a seed had been planted. 

So I signed my son up to attend one morning a week when he was just two. The effect this had on him was quite profound, he was quite frequently the muddiest child, carrying the longest stick which he would proudly show me with a grin. He developed confidence and co-ordination and we developed quite a collection of sticks over that time… The cold, wet weather never dampened his enthusiasm for Forest School, in fact, he hardly seemed to notice it. I would quite often be pouring out the muddy contents of his wellies after a session!

Forest School is something quite special, it isn’t just playing outdoors, it’s never just playing - playing is everything! Forest School has been shown to have lasting beneficial effects on mental wellbeing. Our children are the future guardians of our Earth, for them to respect the planet, they must first connect with it and develop a fascination and love for nature.

Sarah Allington runs Forest School sessions in Ashdon, for more details please visit www.natureoflearning.co.uk or email sarah@natureoflearning.co.uk

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