Holistic Development in Forest School

How have holistic development been used to promote balanced educational opportunities for learners during a Forest School programme?

The elements in holistic development creates the key learning culture in the programme, whereby the development of the whole well-being of the learners are taken into consideration, at different moments.

When walking through a tough forest environment, the climbing and leaping across, gives the physical development aspect, but also intellectual aspect, in terms of making that decision based on timing, distance and suitability of the move.


Learners will also engage in social and language development, when trying to overcome the challenges together with their fellow learners.

The balanced educational opportunities are prevalent in every part of the programme, but may not be consciously released by the learners, hence the leaders role to facilitate them into realising their achievement and development at the right time, is very important.

How does holistic development get facilitated through Forest School?

As mentioned in above, the different elements of holistic development come into play when carrying out simple activities and interaction during a forest school session.

The facilitation through forest school approach, comes in the form of the leaders initiation to assist our learners realise their growth, and providing opportunities for the development, through our patience and the challenges and space provided by the selected environment.

In the Forest School programme, leaders will bring the group together at appropriate time for reflection, sharing and storytelling, to pose questions and discussion opportunities for learners to realise.


It is important for the realisation to happen at the pace and discretion of our young learners, not by our own expectation or the society’s expectation.

We as the leaders only step in to suggest to the learners who are new to the culture of the Forest School learning, but we must make sure that it is not understood by the young ones, as an instruction.

When you have experience through the process of facilitation in a forest school, you would realise the learners develop holistically, through their activities, reflections, sharings and enjoyment. The preparation to facilitate in a forest school requires leaders and volunteers only to let go of our sense of control, trust in our children and the environment, and love them both. The connection and development blossoms from there.

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