Forest Schools Support Learning Outside of the Educational Norm

Forest Schools have been popping up all over the world since their discovery in 1927 and as we continue on understanding the power and effects of our technologies, we see that the lessons taught in Forest School can ensure an ideal future by inhibiting a relationship with nature and other valuable ethics.

Often, Public schools pack about 25 kids into a classroom, sitting young people down for hours on end with a desk and a crammed curriculum until lunchtime. Every person has a different way of thinking and thus why we often see these lessons fall short of their expectations.

Forest Schools have been avoiding the normal conduct of a classroom so much that they strip themselves entirely of the four walls and desks. Teachers take students into a woodland environment where they give them free range to create and discover, which allows learners to not only achieve social and technical skills but also personal understanding. These unique educational standards may change the pass/fail rates, graduation successes and careers of future students.

In a normal classroom a teacher is restricted to an often overloaded schedule assigned to them. The time constraints they face do not allow teachers to set aside time to focus on one child. These teachers work so hard to see a difference but are forced to abide by a system that does not work for every student.

At a young and impressionable age, while struggling with problems, these kids often feel that they are just a number; amount of attendance, test scores and assignments. They cling to phones and tablets that make them feel like they have their own identity by gaining personal achievements on Facebook, Twitter and so on. What’s worse is that research has shown that the more human beings distance themselves from nature the more inclined they are to suffer from depression or other illnesses.

“Already, some research has shown that too much artificial stimulation and an existence spent in purely human environments may cause exhaustion and produce a loss of vitality and health (Katcher and Beck, 1987Stilgoe, 2001). Modern society, by its very essence, insulates people from outdoor environmental stimuli (Stilgoe, 2001) and regular contact with nature (Katcher and Beck, 1987).”
An excerpt from, “Healthy Nature, Healthy People

The dynamics of Forest Schools were created by early pioneers of the 20th Century. Of course spending time with nature was the beginning of our existence, but humans built on the platform that the earth created and distanced themselves from it by doing so. The actual establishment of Forest Schools were said to be in Forest County, Wisconsin by H.L. Russell, the Dean of The College of Agriculture at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

These schools teach not only names and classifications of species but also communication, team work and problem solving. Students gain confidence in their ability to manage the tasks at hand and resolve conflicts. Frequently, problems may be solved with mathematics. Forest Schools can cover all of the same subjects as the average classroom while also building discipline, patience, creativity, and more valuable skills that often get lost inside of an average school. We see all the time that budget cuts always threaten art and music classes first. These are classes that assess individuality and teach children to express themselves.

As we face risks of destroyed habitats, extinct species and global warming, it’s vital to raise younger generations to appreciate the great gift that our natural world is. Not only can they potentially save our future with a passion to see nature thrive but they may grow up happier and healthier as well.

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