Forest School's Through History

Today

A forest school is an educational program that takes place primarily outdoors and is accessible by all students.  All students are given frequent opportunities to work at their own pace to acquire knowledge, experience, confidence, independence and self-esteem by engaging in hands-on activities outdoors.

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The past

The idea of a Forest School was a concept developed in Wisconsin in 1927.  At that time land was purchased for the Laona school forest.  H. L. Russell, Dean of the College of Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, conceived the idea of school forests and was supported by the land use planning committee of Forest County, Wisconsin.  

In the 1950s outdoor education started to become popular in Sweden and Denmark, as well as other European countries.  Forest Schools have become a staple part of early childhood education in Denmark.  These students go to primary school with strong social skills, group skills, high self esteem and confidence in their own abilities.

Starting in the 1990s forest schools started becoming increasing popular in the United Kingdom.  In many areas land has been set aside and preserved for use in educational and theraputic purposes.