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This study examined the observations and experiences of parents whose children receive additional outdoor play time in a Forest School setting. The researchers used a qualitative methodology with online narrative interviews of 15 questions; participants took approximately 15 minutes to complete. 22 parents whose children attended two Forest Schools (one in the Region of Waterloo and one in Wellington County) completed the interviews. The researchers completed this study to better understand why parents chose to enroll their child in a Forest School and how they believed Forest Schools benefited their child. 77% believed that time spent in nature is beneficial for children who have diagnosed exceptionalities or challenging behaviours, 32% said the traditional school system was not working for their child in some way. An interesting finding was on risky play. 100% of parents felt risky play was important, however some expressed the need for it to be supervised. Findings from this study suggested many of the parents chose to enroll their child in a Forest School program for a variety of reasons. The most common were (i) concerns with the traditional school system, (ii) increased opportunities in risky play, and (iii) the overall positive effect on their child.

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parents, forest school, risky playtime, risky play, nature play


School Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Faculty of Applied Health & Community Studies (FAHCS)

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Forest Schools: Observations and Experiences of Parents