Birmingham is located very near Worcester, which was one area particularly involved with the pioneering stage of the Forest School Ethos. Birmingham started with a few school practicing Forest Schools and the number has started to grow.
One problem faced by many Birmingham Schools has been the lack of green space or woodland in an ever growing city, especially for Schools in or near the city centre. This has lead to a number of interesting practices:
- Making Do: Many schools make do with the area they have and simply transform sections of the playground or even little nooks and crannies around school. This isn’t ideal as you do gain an extra something being in the woodland, but it is better than nothing.
- Sharing of Spaces: A number of schools have gained permission from Birmingham City Council to run forest school’s in Birmingham’s many parks and outdoor centres. Also some school’s allow other local schools to use their outdoor spaces.
As need for quality Forest School provision has grown and some schools saw the value but couldn’t provide it, with the support of many groups we saw the creation of Forest Schools Birmingham in 2004. This is a network of experienced practitioners that help Schools quality by providing Outdoor Learning, Forest Schools provision and innovative Schools Grounds Design in an urban environment (Click here to learn more).
As times changed and with increased pressures from the National Curriculum, more schools are looking at ways to providing a holistic approach to education. This coupled with the realisation that Birmingham’s children are getting less exposure to the outdoor environment makes the Forest School Programme very attractive to schools, so its popularity continues to grow.