Book review: 50 Fantastic Ideas for Forest School

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Written by J.V. Barnes
Published by Featherstone: Bloomsbury Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 978-1-4729-7372-6
£10.99

The author of this creative text is an experienced Early Years specialist who also works as an independent trainer, writer and speaker. She is passionate about Forest School and outdoor education, and in this book she shares some lovely ideas that would benefit a wide range of children. 

Barnes encourages practitioners to explore the beauty and simplicity of natural resources. The book opens with an introduction to the ethos of Forest School. She explains that the concept provides a structure for adults and children to use the outdoors and to reconnect with nature directly, away from technology and the pressures and anxieties of daily life. She acknowledges that not all settings have access to large outdoor areas, and maintains that the activities have been selected with this in mind and are open to interpretation.

Barnes stresses that the activities support all types of learners and offer everyone the opportunity to shine and enjoy learning in a relaxed and open-ended way. As such, the book would be of value to those working with young children who are experiencing learning or developmental challenges as activities can be done individually or in groups to support communication. 

Sample activities include making leaf animals, painting ‘story stones’, making magic wands and leaf printing. All of the activities are fully explained and illustrated with colour photographs. This is a lovely book that will inspire the reader to look at the outdoors with fresh eyes and can contribute to the children’s mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. 

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