Speech and Language Development in a Forest School Environment: An Action Research Project


Within England, there is an emerging increase in the number of Forest School sites that are available for children to access from early years settings. This research, as part of a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Studies, studies a forest school environment and analyses what impact the natural environment had on a group of 3- and 4-year-olds' speech and language. Although much research exists on how children develop in the outdoors physically, and imaginatively, very little independent research exists as to the benefits of such an environment on speech and language development. A group of children were selected, and their development was noted prior to attending forest school sessions. After attending sessions for 8 weeks, their development was reassessed. During the research, it was discovered that there was a strong emphasis on self-esteem levels within the natural environment, and investigations were carried out to ascertain whether there was a correlation between the two areas. What was discovered was that all children benefited: speech and language skills improved, but most surprising was a significant improvement in children's levels of self-esteem and sense of personal power. When dealing with young children, ethics is paramount, and this case discusses ethical considerations.

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