Key principles of Forest School

Final illustrations2-04Regular sessions

Forest school is a long-term process of regular sessions, rather than a one-off or infrequent visits; the cycle of planning, observation, adaptation and review links each session.

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Woodland setting

Forest school takes place in a woodland or natural environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.

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Forest school uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for being, development, and learning.

Final illustrations2-07Holistic development

Forest school aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.


Final illustrations2-02Opportunity to take risks

Forest school offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.

Final illustrations2-08Qualified practitioners

Forest school is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.

These principles are based on the UK model of Forest School learning that is promoted by the Forest School Association (

What happens at Forest School?

Setting Up

1. Collect necessary equipment and restock first aid where necessary
2. Carry out a session risk assessment of site and advise/act accordingly
3. Check phone signal
4. Meet and register group

Session Opening

1. Introductions of any new faces
2. Check that they are all wearing suitable clothing and footwear
3. Make the group aware of new hazards or medical considerations
4. Take the group to the location
5. Form an opening circle
6. Engage children in the development of rules and guidelines for the day
7. Explain or walk the boundaries for the day
8. Describe the day’s activities

During the Session

1. Ensure pastoral needs of group
2. Perform a head count, as needed
3. Visually check all equipment before use
4. Check appropriate personal protective clothing is worn

Closing the Session

1. Count any tools used into bag
2. Extinguish any fires properly
3. Check for litter etc.
4. Collect the equipment
5. Remove structures
6. Form a closing circle
7. Conduct an evaluation with the group (questions, talking stick etc.)
8. Walk the group to the pick-up point
9. Say goodbye to the entire group
10. Carefully check equipment
11. Fill in the appropriate assessment form