Research: Woods and Forest Schools

Here are some sources of research and evidence linked to learning in woods as part of Forest Schools initiatives plus other research related to woodlands and how we learn and connect with them.

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Woods and Forest Schools
Physical activity at Forest School

Research funded by the Forestry Commission and the Central Scotland Forest Trust in 2008. This research makes the case that the physical activity undertaken during Forest school activity is sufficient duration and intensity to be of benefit to the participants’ health and wellbeing. This research has also highlighted the potential value of Forest School as an approach to reducing the inequality in levels of physical activity between boys and girls.

Tributes to Trees

Tributes to Trees

In the Centenary year of the Forestry Commission (2019), members of the public were invited to submit a poem, letter, story, memory or image demonstrating what trees mean to them. These tributes were analysed to understand how those contribute to well-being. Overall, many of both the prose and poems expressed emotional and sensory experiences, and these themes were found more often than all the other themes that were explored.

Longitudinal Forest School Research

The Hare and the Tortoise go to Forest School  - longitudinal research

A longitudinal research project on Forest School that provides significant evidence for practitioners and academics alike. This study, authored by Mel McCree, Roger Cutting, and Dean Sherwin, tracked disadvantaged Key Stage 1 children over three years of weekly Forest School sessions. 

The study showed that children’s academic attainment, social development, and emotional well-being increased as a result of Forest School, and did well in comparison to peers who didn’t participate, whole school and national data.

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