The Forest School Association

About The Forest School Association

Established in 2012, The Forest School Association (FSA) is the UK wide professional body for Forest School, promoting and supporting best practice, cohesion and quality ‘Forest School for All.’  We are an inclusive, forward-looking and democratic membership-led organisation open to all levels of Forest School professional and all those interested in providing and growing opportunities for people to experience quality Forest School within our UK nations.

This symposium widens the academic focus of the organisation in line with our charitable purpose, which is “the advancement of education for public benefit through promotion and support of quality Forest School in the United Kingdom using any means to enable all children, young people and adults to benefit from increased opportunities for high quality and varied educational experiences in the natural world.”  The interdisciplinary interweaving of ideas is central to Forest School, and gives Forest School its unique richness.

We define Forest School sessions as person-centered woodland-based experiential and long-term programmes.  They support individuals to play, explore and take risks, socially, physically and emotionally.  The rapidly expanding research indicates that this developmental ethos enables growth in confidence and self-esteem as well as a deep nature connection in all participants. However, much more study is needed to fully understand the full benefits of Forest School and to be able to satisfy supporters and sceptics alike.

Forest School was inspired by pedagogies seen in Scandinavia, arriving in the UK in 1993, since when it has developed into a nationwide network of practitioners. Research into outcomes and pedagogical frameworks began in 2005, and at least three FSA members have successfully completed PhD studies into aspects of Forest School.  We look forward to sharing research findings with the wider academic community, and through that process to deepen our understanding of why Forest School is an effective intervention, and what its place in the wider field of Outdoor Experiential Learning might be.

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