I started my journey in Early Years in 2010. I found a course that I could do at home after finding it really unappealing to be in a classroom. I studied my level 2 childcare independently whilst working full time. I am now Preschool coordinator and every single day I leave work feeling that I have made a difference to the children and families that I care for. I am enrolled to begin the Early Years Initial Teacher Training in September. When looking for a dissertation subject it was clear that the newly launched Forest School programme on our site was appropriate. My family gave me the enthusiasm to work in such an environment where I could show the children all the amazing things that the Forest School can offer. I am very proud of what we have achieved as a setting and what Kelly Severn and the Forest School team continue to provide for the children in our setting and now outside agencies.
The purpose of this research was to measure the impact a Forest School provision had on children’s development of intra-personal and inter-personal skills. The researcher aimed to track progress against the Early Years Foundation Stage (DfE, 2017) alongside the development profile created to outline children’s development in the Forest School environment. A variety of data collection methods were combined to capture different perspectives of the development of the children. Alongside observations conducted by the researcher, close collaboration with practitioners gained key information to complete behavioural questionnaires. Parents gave their perspective of their children’s development through completing a very similar questionnaire and the Forest School practitioner also gave a perspective through the generation of individual reports. The researcher established that Forest School programmes promote the development of skills that cannot be taught in adult-led provision. Carefully chosen interactions and the child-led approach adopted in Forest School programmes helped children to achieve skills that they could use as a foundation throughout their lives.