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Forest schools: fires, trees and mud pies

Outdoor nurseries are sweeping the UK, their focus on fresh air and child-centred learning rather than testing. But can they prepare children for our technology-obsessed world?

Golden leaves are falling, wood smoke is rising, and my daughter Milly finds a dressing-up box incongruously placed in a small paddock, puts on a silky pink top and sunhat and climbs a tree. Below her, one boy waves a toy plastic chainsaw at another. “I’m going to chop you,” he says. “It’s a tool, not a weapon,” says his mum, making sure he is safe. Parents are shivering in the cold but no children are complaining. This is Dandelion forest school, one of a growing number of outdoor nurseries, where children learn through outside play, all year round. Open fires, messing around with tools, outdoor toilets and outside in rain and snow: it may sound like a cruel punishment for cotton-wool kids, but forest schools are quietly spreading through Britain, with almost no assistance from the authorities. Read the article in full - Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/dec/09/the-school-in-the-woods-outdoor-education-modern-britain
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