Why is Forest School important?
There are many reasons why spending time outdoors is beneficial including:
- Physical Health Benefits – Increased oxygen levels outside increase brain function. Increased gross motor movement reduces chance of obesity and increases bone density (reducing chances of osteoporosis). Sunlight increases vitamin D production. Increased resilience to illness.
- Mental Health Benefits – Spending time in green spaces reduces cortisol (a stress chemical) levels in the brain, therefore has a calming influence. The reduction in cortisol also increases receptivity for building neural pathways (learning) in the brain.
- Social Benefits – Research suggests that in natural play areas the leaders tend to be the most intelligent and imaginative, compared to hard-top play areas where the dominant children are those who are the physically strongest. When playing outside communication, teambuilding and language skills are developed.
- Risk Awareness – Playing outside allows children to learn about risk assessment and taking. Children that are exposed to acceptable levels of risk at a young age are less likely to make bad judgements in the future.
- Behaviour – Due to the calming effect on the brain and the increase in physical space outside, improved behaviour is often noticed.