Of 200 UK schools surveyed in 2021, as many as two-thirds have reported an increase in demand for places since March 2020. Some are booked solid for the foreseeable future, and many expect the boom to continue. Activity providers believe that Covid safety concerns and more awareness about the mental health benefits of outdoor life are likely reasons parents are seeking alternative learning paths for their children. Forest school activities are intended to complement traditional learning and typically take place in a woodland or a natural environment; sessions might include bushcraft, mud play, den building and games such as hide and seek. Gareth Wyn Davies, Chief Executive of Forest Schools Association, said “My preference would be for children going out once a week or at least once a fortnight to have that engagement with nature, because the evidence seems to show it has a very positive effect on their academic life when they come back in.”

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