Project Reference B-5 : Forest School Programme

The Faughan Valley is an area rich in natural heritage. It has one of the largest concentrations of ancient woodland in Northern Ireland.

Research nationally has highlighted the lack of opportunity and practical engagement children have with their natural environment. This has major consequences for the future of our natural landscape character as they will become the future custodians of this environment.  It is also having immediate consequences with one in four children in Northern Ireland being classified as obese and a huge rise in mental illness in children and young adults.

A Forest School is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning.  The philosophy of Forest Schools is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences.

By participating in simple achievable tasks and activities, on a regular basis in a woodland environment, each participant has an opportunity to develop intrinsic motivation, sound emotional and social skills and experience first hand the landscape character of the local area.

Forest Schools has demonstrated success with children of all ages who visit the same local woodlands on a regular basis and through play and discovery, have the opportunity to learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others. Forest School programmes run throughout the year, going to the woods in all weathers (except for high winds). Children use full sized tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, establish and grow in confidence, self-esteem and become self motivated.

Forest Schools will aim to develop:
• Self Awareness
• Self Regulation
• Intrinsic motivation
• Empathy
• Good social communication skills
• Independence
• A positive mental attitude, self-esteem and confidence

Forest School, through its application of Accelerated Learning techniques creates a unique learning vehicle that is used to encourage a range of individuals, community groups and larger organisations to utilise their local open space for interactive play, health, recreation and personal development uses.

The Faughan Valley is an area rich in natural heritage. It has one of the largest concentrations of ancient woodland in Northern Ireland.

Research nationally has highlighted the lack of opportunity and practical engagement children have with their natural environment. This has major consequences for the future of our natural landscape character as they will become the future custodians of this environment.  It is also having immediate consequences with one in four children in Northern Ireland being classified as obese and a huge rise in mental illness in children and young adults.

A Forest School is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning.  The philosophy of Forest Schools is to encourage and inspire individuals of any age through positive outdoor experiences.

By participating in simple achievable tasks and activities, on a regular basis in a woodland environment, each participant has an opportunity to develop intrinsic motivation, sound emotional and social skills and experience first hand the landscape character of the local area.

Forest Schools has demonstrated success with children of all ages who visit the same local woodlands on a regular basis and through play and discovery, have the opportunity to learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and most importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others. Forest School programmes run throughout the year, going to the woods in all weathers (except for high winds). Children use full sized tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, establish and grow in confidence, self-esteem and become self motivated.

Forest Schools will aim to develop:
• Self Awareness
• Self Regulation
• Intrinsic motivation
• Empathy
• Good social communication skills
• Independence
• A positive mental attitude, self-esteem and confidence

Forest School, through its application of Accelerated Learning techniques creates a unique learning vehicle that is used to encourage a range of individuals, community groups and larger organisations to utilise their local open space for interactive play, health, recreation and personal development uses.