This is the often heard cry from adults seeing Forest School for the first time, or even the umpteenth time. They don’t get it. What are they learning? Where’s the value?
Yes they are playing. And while they’re playing there is so much valuable learning going on because they are also:
Exploring and forming friendships, gaining greater understanding of social relationships and skills.
Being physically active, developing stronger muscles and bones, practicing gross and fine motor skills for use in all other areas of life. As well as developing patterns to reinforce a healthy lifestyle.
Building resilience and confidence by trying new skills out in a safe environment.
Working through traumas, upsets and challenges at a pace that provides emotional security.
Exploring identity, their strengths and areas for development, testing the consequences without facing judgement.
Play is how children try the world on for size. As Fred Rogers said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.“