More outdoor learning for North Lanarkshire children

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4 APRIL 2014NEWS RELEASE No: 16235

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More children across North Lanarkshire are set to benefit from structured outdoor learning after its early years practitioners completed Forest Kindergarten training.

The Forest Kindergarten is an initiative led by Forestry Commission Scotland that aims to promote the use of woodlands as a learning environment.  It was launched by the Commission in 2009 and North Lanarkshire Council was one of the first local authorities in Scotland to pilot the initiative.

Now, most nurseries and early years centres across the area regularly use woodlands and other outdoor spaces for learning. 

Forest Kindergarten offers young children frequent play in woodland or other natural settings throughout the year in almost all weathers.  Children take part in a range of activities, including exploring for bugs, tracking animals, building dens, arts and crafts and learning about the dangers and risks to look out for.

Research has shown that outdoor learning leads to a range of benefits for children’s development, including better concentration, better communication skills, greater stamina, improved balance and coordination, increased confidence and appreciation and understanding of the outdoors.

Hugh McNish, Forestry Commission Scotland said: “Forest Kindergarten encourages the use of woodlands as an outdoor classroom for pre-school and primary education.

“Woodlands provide an excellent space for learning, allowing children to engage with subjects in a different way.  There is lots of evidence to demonstrate the education, health and well-being benefits of outdoor learning.”

The Commission’s three-day training course, ‘Forest Kindergarten: A Natural Approach to Learning’ is a practical, hands-on programme designed to specifically to meet the needs of early year’s practitioners.  It equips them with the knowledge, understanding and skills to support children to learn through play in local woodlands, green space and other outdoor areas. 

Lynn Walsh, Head, Shotts Nursery Centre comments on the training programme: “The successful impact of the delivery of Forest Kindergarten has been due to the motivation and dedication of our practitioners.  The training received has been invaluable. 

“Already, our practitioners have commented on children’s improved confidence, self-esteem and resilience.  They are able to apply their skills and knowledge in all areas of their learning.  A huge impact has been in their expressive language skills.”

Notes to Editors

 1.   Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate.

2.   For news, events and recreation information log on to: or

 3.   The FCS agobair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridhcoilltearachdRiaghaltasna h-Alba agus a’ riaghladhnan 660,000 heactaireanann an OighreachdnaCoilleNàiseanta, a’ dìonadh, a’ cumailsmachd air agus a’ leudachadhnancoillteangusbuannachdan a thoirtdhacoimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidhagus, agobair an aghaidhatharrachadhgnàth-shìde.

4.   Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508.