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New Alliance publication explores the positive impact of the outdoors for children’s development

By Rachel Lawlerchild in trees forest school early years

The Alliance has launched a new publication explaining the positive impact of time outdoors on children’s development, enabling them to self-regulate, problem solve, and appreciate nature and their responsibility towards it.

The Alliance's new publication Introducing Forest School in the Early Years provides guidance on how to create a Forest School with links to the EYFS and the early years curriculum, through considering intent, implementation and impact, cultural capital and the characteristics of effective learning.

The positive impact of time spent outdoors supports children’s knowledge and skills across the seven areas of learning and development. Of particular importance is its contribution to their personal, social and emotional development (PSED) which ‘is crucial for children to lead healthy and happy lives and is fundamental to their cognitive development’. (EYFS)

A recent briefing paper from Ofsted which looked at education recovery in early years (Ofsted 2022) highlighted some of the developmental delays that providers were observing in young children. This was particularly the case for their personal, social and emotional development, communication and language and physical development. The briefing paper reflects the experiences of many Forest School leaders who have observed: 

  • a deterioration in children’s language skills and in some cases, children speaking in an American accent due to the amount of films and TV programmes they have watched 
  • poor physical skills, in particular gross motor skills and movement, balance and coordination 
  • poor social skills 
  • problems with emotional and mental wellbeing that manifested as anxiety, lack of confidence and challenging behaviour 

Christina Dee, author of the publication, said: “Forest School sessions provide a unique opportunity to foster a child-led approach to learning, helping young children to develop their confidence, stamina and resilience. Now more than ever these skills are increasingly important especially when considering the significant impact the pandemic has had on a their social, emotional and personal development. 

“Using Introducing Forest Schools in the Early Years educators will gain a holistic and practical introduction to Forest Schools sessions which they can then use to help support children’s overall learning and development.”

Find out more
Introducing Forest School in the Early Years is available to Alliance members for just £11.40 and to non-members for £16.29. The publication will be released next week but is available to pre-order now here