Research following this approach found that:
- "...children attending forest school kindergartens in the countryside environment are far happier than children in kindergartens located in the urban environment. The study concluded that children in the forest school are more balanced with greater socially capability, they have fewer days off sick; are more able to concentrate and have better co-ordination than the city kindergarten children."
Without access to the research we cannot take too much from this, but looking at the concept from a paleo perspective several principles stand out (my emphasis):
- "The result showed the children attending the forest school to be markedly better at concentrating than the city Kindergarten children. It appeared that the principle reason was due to the greater range of opportunities present for play in nature, children played for longer at a time, with less annoyance or interruption of each other compared to the children in the city kindergarten.
The study observed that when children in the city kindergarten were interrupted, they became irritable, their stress levels rose significantly, and their ability to concentrate fell. When they could not concentrate there was a clear tendency to selfish and inconsiderate behaviour and aggression. The forest school children were much more considerate towards each other."
Wouldn't it be great if this concept was taken to its natural conclusion and the children were fed a silvaculture diet? Can you imagine the skills developed in catching, preparing and eating game? Or foraging for seasonal plants and seeds to eat? Those VERY triggers that led to our enhanced brain development being exploited?
I cringe at the thought that lunchtime at Forest School might involve a packed lunch of sandwiches, chocolate bar and a can of soda (sugar free of course). But, hell, this is one heck of an approach to education.