(Written by Tammy Cooney) 
Let’s start at the beginning – what is Forest School? It is a way of providing an outdoor education to children. While the ideal place to offer Forest School learning to children is woodland, it is not imperative. 
It is possible to apply Forest School learning to other natural environments. Forest School has been the trailblazer of alternative forms of education; that learning environment which is not sedentary, academic and technology based. Dr Mark Leather (Associate Professor of Adventure Learning and Outdoor Learning at Plymouth Marjon University says that “Forest School done well, connects you to your spiritual understanding of the world. We know we are on a planet with finite resources and that we are connected to the place. 
Being in the environment leads to becoming an environmentalist, and sometimes that word is used to mean you’re a lefty tree hugger. But I like the word, put me down as an environmentalist. That’s because I believe that we should all breathe clean air and drink clean water and have our foods unpolluted. We want to call it out when we have a relationship with the outdoors.” So why wouldn’t you want to provide a Forest School curriculum? 
If you think about Forest School as a natural environment for children to thrive with nature and connect to the world around them before anything else, it is impossible not to see its benefits. Add to that the fact that Forest School aims to teach children about sustainability, green issues and creating better citizens by 2050 – it really is important that more people train to be able to provide Forest School sessions for our children. Take a look at Course Detective, to see what they offer in the way of Forest School CPD 
Creating conditions so that everyone can get involved is a very important part of Forest School. After all the outdoors is accessible and free for us all. But to make it even more accessible, you could: 
Provide food for free – for example marshmallows to be toasted on an open fire 
Increase childrens’ outdoor knowledge – some children do not spend time outside very often, so just explaining the names of trees and plants can really help to include children 
Try to stay within walking distance of the school – so that transport costs are not an issue 
Forest School doesn’t have to be about woodlands only - it’s about the great outdoors. Children could go to the beach, on camps, to wetlands or even use public transport such as trains. Forest School is great for developing motor skills in young children, self-confidence and emotional awareness in the natural world. The national curriculum can also be applied to Forest School by doing science practicals in a firepit or learning words through woodland stories; actually there is an awful lot that can refer back to the national curriculum. So why not become a Forest School specialist? 
Try a CPD course offered by www.coursedetective.co.uk just take a look at their website to find out more. 
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