In a climate where, it is claimed, children now spend very little time out of doors because adults fear for their safety and impose a ‘zero risk childhood’ on them, Forest School aims to offer learners the opportunity to take ‘supported risks’. This study investigated perceptions of risk associated with the outdoors, held by children, their parents and practitioners, and whether accessing Forest School impacts on these perceptions of risk. Practitioners were generally either strongly risk-averse or strongly permissive; Forest School influenced them to be less risk-averse in some respects. Parents held ambiguous perceptions, wanting to keep their children very safe but also to help them develop strong and confident attitudes to risk. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
- Forest school