Forest School and its philosophies are not new,modern, twenty first century ideas. The first ideas linked to what we call Forest School now can be traced back to a range of educational theorists and pioneers from the late nineteenth and the twentieth century. Inspiration for Forest School can be linked to ; Baden Powell, founder of the Scouting movement and Thompson Seton before him, Pestalozzi who advocated that learning was best done through activity, Freobel's ideas of learning through play, Isaacs' publication detailing that nursery settings should be child centred and and extension of the home, and Hahn's concepts of respect and leadership.
Modern Forest School has originated in Scandinavia in the 1950's. The influence on the UK began when a group of Early Years students embarked on a study tour in Denmark in 1993. They bought ideas of outdoor learning that they had seen on their visits back to the UK and were inspired to incorporate these ideas into their own Early Years settings. They saw benefits of increased confidence, independence and self esteem.
In 1996, the Bridgewater educators expanded their settings to incorporate woodlands into the outdoor learning experience. In 2000 the educators began to share their outdoor learning concepts and this has become to be what we call Forest School today.