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Title: The Forest School initiative and its perceived impact on children's learning and development : an investigation into the views of children and parents
Author: Close, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 2734 6095
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2012
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The study investigated the perceptions of children and parents relating to the Forest School initiative. The aims of the research were to explore children’s and parents’ perceptions of Forest School and consider the potential influence Forest School can have on children’s learning and development. The study explored these views within a setting that had implemented the Forest School initiative at a whole primary school level for a number of years. A qualitative approach was taken and the study used thematic analysis of key concepts and codes. Emerging themes were drawn from children’s and parents’ comments and main themes were identified. The study found that children were able to communicate the fun, excitement and enjoyment they had experienced when talking about Forest School as an initiative. Children conveyed a caring attitude and respect for nature and the outdoor environment and that it was important for them to look after their surroundings. Parents expressed that they valued the initiative and that supporting their children’s education at home was important. However, they felt that children took the Forest School initiative for granted and perhaps saw it as a privilege. In relation to children’s learning, a key theme was children’s apparent enthusiasm and desire to learn. The Forest School experience enabled children to develop and reinforce a multitude of key skills. With regard to children’s development, references were made to a growing sense of awareness and maturity. Concepts of trust and responsibility were conveyed with some reference to a growing sense of freedom being afforded to children as they get older. Further research could seek to establish which professionals are aware of the existence of Forest School and gain their perceptions of its potential benefits. Also, further exploration focusing on the difference in Forest School experiences between the Foundation Phase and Key Stage 2 could provide interesting results. This takes into account the perceived impact the Forest School initiative appears to have contributed to, in relation to the children’s and parents’ perspectives and the context of this study.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; LB1501 Primary Education