MASKK want to enable environments where children and young people are supported and encouraged to engage with their wider world. MASKK have already supported the creation of and continue to support opportunities through Playwork, Sports, Chess, Dance and Scouting and in 2023 will be adding Forest Schools after many requests from parents, children and young people.

Traditionally Forest Schools are expensive and take place in the more affluent parts of the city, but we want to make them accessible for local children without finance being a barrier. Forest School ethos has a lot in common with Playwork too, they are participant centred (Playwork puts the child and their need to play first), they encourage and support risk taking (Playworkers believe children need to experience risk to support their development), they are holistic in their approach and like Playwork put an emphasis on qualified leaders who also use reflective practice.

The benefits of forest schools

Forest Schools have a variety of benefits, many similar to what we already offer but going that little further to let children and young people expand their experiences and learning.

Connecting with nature:

  • Supports relaxation, decreasing their stress and helping them to focus
  • Explore their place in the world
  • Find new ways to learn
  • How to build with nature materials
  • Value and understand nature

Risk taking:

  • Helps children and young people face their fears
  • It builds resilience
  • Supports them to explore their abilities
  • Provides opportunities for trying new things
  • It encourages challenge
  • Teaches children and young people how to assess risk for themselves

Being participant centred:

  • Allows children to take control of their learning and development
  • Supports children to explore their motivations
  • Increased the confidence of the children and young people
  • They learn how to solve problems
  • Inspires their curiosity
  • They learn what they want to learn

Being holistic:

  • Supports children and young people to develop of socially, physically, emotionally, spiritually and intellectually
  • Develops skills to self-regulate
  • Promotes communicating about their thoughts and feels, learning how to understand their emotions

Qualified and reflective leaders:

  • Provide support, not solutions to allow children and young people to learn for themselves
  • Model behaviour and communication
  • Provide opportunities for children and young people to learn new things
  • Observe children and young people to access their needs and motivations and plan accordingly