Forest School in the Netherlands – Finding Your Curiosity in Outdoor Classrooms

Forest school learning has become an increasingly popular educational method. Originally from Scandinavia, the Netherlands has now caught on to the merits of outdoor classes as well. Amongst others, The British School in the Netherlands offers a Forest school program at their three Junior Schools. But what is Forest school? Its name already implies its meaning: Forest School is a method of learning in which the students ideally spend most of their day outside.

In 2018, VeiligheidNL found that more and more children in the Netherlands incur bone fractures during sports classes. They concluded that this was the result of children not getting enough exercise, impacting their motorial development. Forest school could be the perfect solution to this.

When children are actively engaged in outdoor activities, such as math games with sticks and stones, going on a leaf hunt, or making a weather station for science, they are experiencing nature in a way that can’t be simulated by books alone. Rather than solely being led by the teachers, the children are encouraged to be curious and explore.

Forest school thus not only teaches children about the complexities of the natural environment, it also helps develop their personal skills. Forest school has been shown to build independence and self-esteem, as well as skills like teamwork and problem solving. The British School of Amsterdam, which also offers a Forest school program, writes on their website that “Forest school is a program that offers all learners opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment”.

One of the Forest School teachers at The British School in the Netherlands wrote a wonderful article on the merits of outdoor classrooms, which can be found here. For more information on international and Dutch schooling in the Netherlands, the relocation team at Expat Management Group is happy to help!

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