Many of us choose to send our children to nursery school or some kind of day-care. Not only does this allow you to go back to work, or take some time to run errands if you’re a stay at home parent, but it also provides your child with social enrichment.

Especially for children without siblings, a nursery can be a place where first friendships are formed, and children learn to share and be around others. They’re also essential for early childhood learning and development, as your little one will get to explore their creativity as well as learning some of the skills they’ll need when they attend school.

The traditional nursery setup is not right for every child, and that’s where options like forest schools come into play. Forest school is child-led. Outdoor learning spaces that aim to build confidence and help children connect with the world around them. In this post, we explore the benefits of this alternative approach for you and your toddler.

Forest School Learning with Children

Benefits for your toddler

Being outside reduces the pressure of social situations

It can be hard to make friends when you’re forced into a room of people you don’t know. Extroverts may be ok, as they are more likely to start a conversation, but introverts may struggle and feel uncomfortable. For children, having friends at nursery may be crucial to their happiness. When they leave you at the gate and head off for the day, they’re more likely to do this if they have a friend they want to see.

Forest schools reduce the pressure of having to sit quietly. They help kids to make friends whilst they’re exploring alongside each other. Children can talk about the things they have found and team up, which may also build their confidence. The outside setting can also be helpful for children who struggle with sitting still in a classroom-style environment.

Teaches your kids empathy and teamwork

One of the primary aims of a forest school is to teach children about the importance of the natural world around them. This can nurture a sense of respect, empathy and connection towards the woodland creatures and plants that they learn about.

Children will often work together in teams. Your child will learn to support others when they’re finding a task hard, as well as asking for help when they need it. This can be particularly beneficial for only children, who may not be used to sharing or doing tasks with others.

Forest School With Toddler

Benefits for you

Introduces you to like-minded people

Forest schools don’t just benefit your toddler when it comes to social interaction. Many parents choose to form friendships with the parents of their children’s friends. This is because they share playdates and babysit for each other when needed. It's hard to tell if you’re going to get on with someone from a brief interaction at the nursery pickup.

However, parents who send their children to forest school are already likely to have something in common. A love and respect for the outdoors. This may mean that you feel more at ease with the other parents. Allowing you to spark up a conversation. You know that your child will be in a like-minded environment should they ever go on a day out with their new friend - helping you relax and be more confident that they’ll have a good time.