Ask any parent what they want for their child and the most likely answer you will get would be for them to be healthy and happy. Everything else comes as secondary but as a direct result of being healthy and happy.
Outdoor learning and Forest School encompasses the wellbeing of the whole child whilst also providing them with the opportunities and experiences that will become lifelong memories.
Here at Wild Play we believe that being outdoors enables children to gain the skills that they can draw upon time and time again throughout their lives. It’s about creating a journey and getting the best start to leading a happy, healthy and enriching lifestyle.
So, with that in mind, we’ve created a list of all the reasons to get your kids off the gadgets and get them out and about in the GREAT OUTDOORS!
1. Enhance and develop personal and social communication skills – whatever the future holds for your child, the ability to communicate effectively and have the necessary social skills are essential. We’re all different and some of us find these skills easier than others. When outdoors, children naturally learn and practice skills of teamwork, compromise, problem solving, negotiation, respect, co-operation and mediation. It comes more naturally to them outdoors and they are more likely to turn to each other for help or support and find ways to problem solve for themselves or with others.
2. Health benefits – They say that a good dose of fresh air can be the best medicine and at Wild Play, we really believe that’s true! Being active outdoors helps to enable your child’s body to grow and develop and has a profound impact on so many health problems. Some of the many benefits include: building muscle, strengthening bones, increasing endorphins and increasing energy levels, improving digestion, strengthening the immune system and helping the body to heal. And of course, we all sleep well at the end of a fun filled day outdoors!
3. Positive impact on mental health – The focus on mental health is gaining momentum and quite rightly so. Being outdoors has such an overwhelmingly positive impact on our wellbeing as it provides us with opportunity to think, relax, breathe and reflect. We also gain increased self-confidence, self-esteem and emotional resilience, along with reducing our anxiety and stress levels. All of this has a positive impact on our self-worth.
4. Makes learning relevant and enjoyable – At Wild Play, we believe this is key! When we can’t see the point of learning something and it’s boring, we instantly disengage. Research shows that learning outdoors in a fun, stimulating and practical way engages children so much more…and makes learning far more memorable! Providing a multi-sensory experience where children are able to investigate and discover things for themselves opens up a whole new world of learning and has a far higher chance of being retained than more formal methods of learning.
5. Develops our understanding of personal responsibility – Being part of the Wild Play community is a key aspect of our ethos. We encourage and support children to help and look after each other, as well as develop an understanding about respect for the natural environment and that we are all equally responsible for maintaining and valuing the world around us.
6. Encourages and extends all of these things too! – Being outdoors and investigating the abundance of resources that nature has to offer, enables children to become more independent and their levels of perseverance increase. Provide an area of woodland or natural materials and children will use their imagination to make it come alive. Self-led discovery and exploration is crucial to children’s development and allows children of all abilities to succeed. Time and time again we see children who find traditional classroom based learning difficult, transform into born leaders and explorers in the outdoor environment. Learning outdoors enables everybody to take on new roles, find new talents and develop a rich and varied manner of skills.
And finally… being outdoors is fun and its where children can just be… children!