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How Forest School helps children engage with the natural world: major new publication

10 February 2016

The Mersey Forest has contributed to a major new reference work focusing on younger people, with staff and associates authoring a chapter on Forest School and natural play.

The chapter examines the role of natural play in children's cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development, explores reasons for the decline of natural play opportunities in the UK before proposing how Forest School can help to tackle this deficit.


The work is included in a volume called 'Space, Place and the Environment'* – part of Geographies of Children and Young People, Major Reference Work comprising twelve volumes that pulls together the best international reflective and innovative scholarship focusing on younger people. The volume aims to demonstrate the various ways that space, place and environments interact with children and young people's lives.


Clare Austin, our match funded PhD student from Liverpool John Moores University and Jo Sayers, our Community Development Officer have contributed to the chapter which gives an overview of Forest School research, offering exemplars from the Mersey Forest programme and puts forward a case for Forest School to be integrated into children's curriculum.


Find out more


* Austin, C , Knowles ZR, Richards K, Sayers J, McCree M, Ridgers ND. 2016. Play and Learning Outdoors: Engaging with the Natural World Using Forest School in the UK Skelton T, Nairn K, Kraftl P. Geographies of Children and Young People. Space, Landscape, and Environment 3 :1-22 Springer

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