Forest Schools are becoming more popular across the country and you can visit one here in the Cotswolds at Batsford Arboretum.
Educators and parents are realising the benefits of being outdoors and, ‘at one with nature.’ It sounds cliché but there are proven benefits to both physical and mental health for both children and adults: it provides good exercise; natural sunlight boosts your immune system and it can enhance your creativity.
We went along to Batsford’s Family Forest School today to find out for ourselves. We had a great two-hour session led by the arboretum’s Education Officer Zoe. We built a den, made clay animals, went on a bug hunt and played in the mud kitchen!
Zoe was telling us how she thinks it’s so important to offer Forest Schools, she said, ‘They are becoming more popular because people are releasing the benefits of learning through play. There is so much pressure on children to hit targets in schools whereas at a Forest School, kids can play at their own pace. Kids don’t get outside enough nowadays and we’re all on our various devices so it’s a great way of reconnecting with nature and also members of the family!’
We loved our visit, especially the bug hunt as we found some centipedes, spiders and a huge beetle which Zoe told us the name of but I’ve forgotten! We went for a wander in the arboretum after the session (separate entry price) and had lunch in the lovely café which has a great play area next to it.
The Forest School sessions will start up again in the spring when there will be lots more family Forest School events running in the school holidays and the regular ‘Tot’s Forest School’ sessions will continue. The sessions are only £5 per child or £3 for the ‘Tot’s sessions.
Other events coming up next at Batsford Arboretum include a children’s Elf Hunt starting on 1st December (running daily until 6th Jan) and Santa’s Grotto on the weekend of 8th/9th December.
Details for both are on the website here.
We were invited along to review the Forest School.