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Why Forest School?

The Benefits of outdoor learning at forest school

Forest School is a unique educational experience and process that offers children the opportunity to succeed and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland environment. Children engage in motivating and achievable tasks and activities throughout the year and in almost all weathers. Children will work with tools, play, learn boundaries of behaviour; both physical and social, grow in confidence, self-esteem and motivation whilst developing an understanding of the natural world.


The Forest School concept originates in Denmark, originally aimed at preschool children, where it was found that children who had attended forest school then arrived at school with strong social and communication skills, having the ability to work in groups effectively, generally had high self-esteem and a confidence in their own abilities. These foundations helped them to raise their academic achievements. ​

Why Forest Schools Work, Hideaway Forest School Bristol

The Hideaway Forest School encourages children to:

  • develop personal and social skills

  • develop language and communication skills

  • improve physical motor skills

  • build confidence in decision making and evaluating risk

  • develop practical skills

  • work through practical problems and challenges

  • use tools to create, build or manage

  • understand the benefits of a balanced and healthy lifestyle

  • explore connections between humans, wildlife and the earth

  • become more motivated by regularly experiencing achievement and success

  • pursue knowledge that interests them, improve their concentration skills

The Hideaway Forest School successfully offers a positive, authentic Forest School experience:

To run a Forest School, leaders must be fully qualified Level Three practitioners with First Aid Training. All The Hideaway Leaders are fully qualified with outdoor first aid certificates and hold Forest school public liability insurance – check out our Team!


  • A routine of repeated and regular visits to the same woodland (or natural) site, preferably through the changing seasons. A year is considered most beneficial, with children showing positive changes within six to nine visits. The Hideaway programmes are set for a minimum of six sessions, or booked in termly blocks.

  • Forest School needs to take place in a natural space – with some trees at least. This is to support the development of a stronger bond between us and our natural world. The Hideaway Forest school work with the scouts and private land owners to develop woodland that the children can take pride in developing.

  • Beyond the woodland’s offerings, Forest School equipment is focused predominately on natural objects and materials such as mud, wood, leaves and water to stimulate creativity and imagination. The Hideaway offers a variety of natural, exploratory areas including natural crafts, pond dipping, digging, dens, swing, climbing, balancing bridges, a leaf kitchen and charcoal and mud painting. Planned activities are all centred around natural materials.


  • To increase self-esteem, Forest School follows a risk-benefit process; ​at The Hideaway, participants will learn tangible, real-life tasks such as using traditional woodland tools, collecting wood and fire lighting .

  • Forest School aims to create positive outdoor experiences through child-centred, achievable tasks. Participants are taught new skills and shown new ideas, but there is a large element of choice and emphasis on play. The Hideaway sessions comprise new activities alongside play, and routines such as circle time, snack time and  woodland games.


  • A term of Forest School sessions is designed through routine and a progression of learning. At The Hideaway we pride ourselves in creating a stable and consistent environment. As participants get used to the process they will have the confidence to explore further and challenge themselves more, building up to tool work and exploring further away from adults. The Children’s skills and knowledge are built up over time, along with increased confidence and independence in ‘their’ woods.

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