What is Forest School?

First developed in the UK in 1993 after a group of students from Bridgewater College, Somerset returned from a trip to Denmark where they looked at the pre-school system there. Witnessing the open-air culture (friluftsliv) where children had freedom to play and explore, they returned to the UK inspired and opened the first ‘Forest school’ in the college creche.


Since then Forest School has continued to increase in popularity here in the UK, where research has shown a big decline in outdoor play in recent decades.

Forest School is an inspirational process, offering all learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.


Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and complements the wider context of outdoor and woodland education. Wild By Nature is able to offer both Forest School and opportunities for outdoor learning and nature connection.

We follow the 6 main principles of Forest school:

Forest school is a long-term process with frequent and regular sessions, with observation and planning based on the learner’s interests.
Sessions take place in a woodland or natural environment, supporting the development of the relationship between the learner and the natural world.
Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
Forest school uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.

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

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