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Book Review for: Forest Schools and Outdoor Learning in the Early Years
on 25 June 2009
Knight examines the ethos of Forest School and through several case studies, she shares her experiences of a number of Forest Schools operating in the UK. She challenges the reader to explore their own impressions on the Scandinavian derived concept. This method of education has blossomed in many rural areas in the UK and is reaching out to more urban centres.
The book suggests that we still have a lot to learn from our Scandinavian counterparts with respect to societal norms, public attitudes and outdoor play, which invariably play a major part in them leading happier and healthier lives. However, she notes all is not lost in the UK, further improvements are being made in Education as a more diversified range of professionals provide input in government educational policies. In addition, the efforts and achievements by UK settings, particularly in deprived areas and urban spaces across the UK should not be overlooked.
Particular emphasis is placed on the unrivalled learning opportunities and universal benefits of Forest School in the foundation stage and beyond through the play-based and child- initiated and led learning which is supported by facilitative adult role models. Ample information is provided on Forest School training, site selection, risk assessing, kit and good practice. This book provides a valuable resource for anyone wanting to set up a Forest School or gain a deeper understanding on the practise it entails.
Review by Katherine Milchem (Forest School Co-ordinator in South West London and the Chair of the FEI London South West Cluster Group)