What is a Forest Kindergarten?
Forest Kindergartens offer young children frequent, regular play opportunities in woodland and/or a natural setting, throughout the year, in almost all weathers.
Most early years establishments adopting this approach allocate one session per week. However, this can be increased to children being outdoors more than 80% of the time.
What are the benefits?
- Child-centred learning through play, in a 'real world' context
- Freedom to explore, using multiple senses
- Good for health and well-being
- Helps develop self esteem, confidence and perseverance
- Helps with acquisition of knowledge
- Help develop problem solving skills and self risk assessment skills
- Helps develop an appreciation, understanding and care for natural heritage
- Helps overcome the apprehension of being wet and dirty.
St Paul's Nursery centre pilot project
St. Pauls Nursery centre became the first South Lanarkshire Council nursery to participate in our Forest Kindergarten pilot project.
Our Forest Kindergarten Officer and South Lanarkshire Council’s Countryside Rangers jointly ran this project in Backmuir Woods. Between April and July 2010, 12 children and 2 staff participated in a variety of child-led forest sessions.
South Lanarkshire TV has produced a short film to showcase this project and some of learning experiences the children gained from participating:
More information on the Forest Kindergarten programme
Forestry Commission Scotland and the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership commissioned The Creative STAR Learning Company to undertake a Forest Kindergarten Feasibility Study between December 2008 and March 2009.
The area covered by the study accounts for one third of the Scottish population across the following local authorities: East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire.
The Feasibility Study is Phase One of a longer-term project to develop Forest Kindergartens and activities within local authority early years establishments in Central Scotland.
Phase Two of the Feasibility Study is developing at the moment: the Forest Kindergarten Officer will liase with local authorities and the proposed early years establishments to explore Forest Kindergarten pilots as identified in the study. This will lead to Forest Kindergartens being set up, developed, monitored and evaluated, along with staff training being provided.
The feasibility study report
The Forest Kindergarten Feasibility Study Report is split into two parts.
Part One is the main report and main report appendices, and is available for downloading:
Part Two of the report provides survey results for each Local Authority included in the study, as well as the proposed pilot site/s and early years establishments for each Local Authority. If you are from a Local Authority and would like the details relevant to your area, please contact Karen Boyd on 01698 368553 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to find out more about Forest Kindergarten in Central Scotland or you would like more information on the study please contact Karen Boyd, Forest Kindergarten Officer on 01698 368553 or email: email@example.com