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Are Forset Schools a Beneficial Addition to the Foundation Phase

  • Date Submitted: 05/01/2010 11:27 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 54.5 
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Are Forest School’s a Beneficial Addition to the Foundation Phase?
In the past decade there has been a growing interest in Forest schools within Britain. Originating in
Scandinavia, Forest Schools are closely associated with the Danish early years programme. Inspired by the ideas of Froebel, (who believe that doing was an essential part of education, with a strong emphasis on nature), nursery schools in Denmark have traditionally favoured play, movement and fresh air (Stigsgaard, 1978, cited in Williams-Siegfredson, 2005). The forest school concept was brought to Britain in 1995 when a group from Bridgewater College made a study tour to Denmark and experienced the benefits of forest schools themselves. When they returned to the UK they looked at how forest schools could be applied in their own early years setting and from this starting point the concept of forest schools has spread across the UK. ‘Wales has used forest schools with a wider range of client groups and woodland settings, since 2000, there are now 30 active forest schools putting Wales at the heart of this innovative approach.’ Borradaile, (2006)
The growing interest in forest schools may be linked to the decline in children’s outdoor play. Bilton (2002) found that the importance of an outdoor education has declined: ‘real learning was what happened in the classroom, while the outdoor environment was only used for physical education and to provide children with an opportunity to let off steam.’ Rickinson et al (2004, as cited in Davis, Rea, Waite, 2006) also noted that there has been ‘growing concern that opportunities for outdoor learning by children have decreased substantially in recent years. ‘Contact with the outdoors is often limited for many children in modern society, and the vital experience of using the outdoors and being comfortable in nature is lost.’ (O’Brien and Murray, 2005) It is only since the beginning of the twenty-first century, that teachers of young children have been...

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