• The importance of Forest School and the pathways to nature connection

      Cudworth, Dave; Lumber, Ryan; DeMontfort University; University of Derby (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-02-18)
      Over the past 25 years Forest School in the UK has been growing in popularity as part of a wider resurgence of interest in outdoor learning. A key driver behind this recurrence of interest has been a growing concern over the lack of child exposure to outdoor experiences and with the natural world and their ensuing nature-deficit disorder. This article considers Forest School as linked with the concept of nature connection that is the sensation of belonging to a wider natural community. This sense of belonging developed by being in nature can also be a key factor in promoting attachment and sense of place which in turn is associated with the promotion of health, wellbeing and pro-environmental behaviours. As such the origins towards achieving nature connection are a formal part of the Forest School Association’s (FSA 2016). Forest School principals, with growing research linking Forest School and nature connection as concomitant. Recent work has suggested that contact, emotion, meaning, compassion, and beauty are key pathways for the formation of nature connection and there is a strong need to better understand children’s nature connection in this context. Further, from the premise that what goes on in spaces and places is fundamentally linked to both social and spatial processes, this article also attempts to understand the spatialities of Forest School in order to frame the development of nature connection within a socio-spatial analytic.