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As nossas atividades

Currently, children spend little time outdoors, have too many structured activities and show a worrying deficit in terms of autonomy. These factors contribute to an ever-larger number of children with fewer capacities to use their bodies to play, little creativity, little skills to manage emotions, as well as an increased risk of physical and psychological disturbances in the future. To go against this trend, Escola Lá Fora suggest a set of activities for children aged 3 to 12, based on the Forest School educational model, which assumes a dynamic organised in a context of woods or forest.

Questions and answers

A Forest School is a set of outdoors activities, preferably in a forest or the woods, and which privileges the contact with nature as the ideal setting for children to learn.

This educational model is based on the following premisses:

  • Frequent and regular learning sessions in natural spaces, based on observation and collaboration between adults and children;
  • Use of a natural or woods environment that supports the development of a close relation between the child and nature, promoting exploration and discovery and using mostly natural resources;
  • Promotion of children’s comprehensive development, so that they become resilient, confident, independent and creative through their physical, social, cognitive, linguistic, emotional and social development;
  • Additionally, the creation of opportunities for children to be able to take risks allows for the development of their innate motivation and of positive attitudes, by using appropriate tools;
  • The project is assured by professionals with CPD and using a high ration of adults per children, always in compliance with the applicable certification and legislation;
  • The learning processes are focused on the child and free play is recognised as vital in learning and development, always considering the individuality of every child.

An educational model is a set of information that guides and sustains an educational practice. These are the premisses that serve as a basis for an educational intervention and which are well-documented and tested. 

We say Forest School, in English, because this is the actual name of the educational model, just like Walford, Montessori or MEM regard specific educational models.

Is it because it’s trendy? Nothing like that! This is the official designation. Calling it some other name would be the same as translating Montessori or Walford, if that were possible.


Sure! Preschoolers can attend every day. For infants and toddlers (0-3), we have playgroups where they come accompanied by a carer and once a week, we have afterschool activities for children aged 3 to 12, as well as partnerships with other schools.

During school breaks, we have holiday programmes where children can also attend every day!

Nature-based learning provides a vast amount of scientifically-proven benefits. These are some of the benefits we consider to be most important:

  • Promotion of creativity and problem-solving: Nature-based play promotes an adequate development in the following domains: intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual and physical (Kellert, 2005);
  • Boosts cognitive skills - the daily exposure to natural contexts increases the capacity to focus and stimulates cognitive skills (Wells, 2000)
  • It improves academic performance — research developed in the USA shows that schools using nature-based playgrounds or ways to experience natural elements promote better results in disciplines like social studies, science and mathematics (American Institute for Research, 2005)
  • It reduces the symptoms of the Attention Deficit Disorder — Contact with nature may significantly reduce the symptoms of the Attention Deficit Disorder in children up to 5 years-old (Kuo and Taylor, 2004)
  • It promotes physical activity — Children who have access to natural environments in school are physically more active, more awaken to the importance of food, more respectful of others and more creative (Bell and Dyment, 2006)
  • It improves social relationship — Children find it easier to relate to their peers, they are healthier and happier when they have regular opportunities for free play in natural environments (Burdette & Whitaker, 2005)
  • It promotes self-discipline — access to green areas provides the capacity for self-regulation and self-discipline in urban children (Taylor, Kuoe Sullivan, 2001)
  • Reduces stress — Access to natural contexts show significant results in stress reduction in children (Wells and Evans, 2003)

The Forest School approach favours learning processes, the interests of the children and free-range play. The latter is highly valued as a means for true learning, in excellence.

We don't want children to stay seated and learn passively. We want active children, curious children, interested in others and the world around them; children who know how to face hardship and overcome it, with a lasting connection with nature, and who are active participants in their communities!

Yes! Children who are in touch with nature during all seasons, children who are capable of understanding their cycles and specificities, are children who are alert to what is around them, curious and with a deeper environmental conscience.

There are many physical benefits from being outdoors, as mentioned already. Children who are in touch with nature during all seasons, children who are capable of understanding their cycles and specificities, are children who are alert to what is around them, curious and with a deeper environmental conscience. There are many physical benefits from being outdoors, as mentioned already. Besides all this, being outdoors is crucial to strengthen the immune system, as well as not being stuck in a room sharing germs with other children, which is already an incredible benefit in itself!

We believe in science and prevention and we consider that the vaccination plan is a matter of public health and it is essential for all children, so we do believe in vaccination.

Morning snack must be brought from home. Lunch and afternoon snacks can be ordered to a partner company, Sem Espiga, for an additional cost, or come from home, too.

Being outdoors is actually great for their health and we want to put an end to the stigma that we should protect children from the elements. Sunbathing is essential — vitamin D helps regulate the sleep and strengthen the immune system. The rain — as long as they are well equipped — does not have any downsides when it comes to being outdoors. Plus, everything is a lot more fun when puddles and mud are involved! There is also another extraordinary benefit that touches all climate conditions: children abroad in activities that promote physical exercise are fighting against the sedentary lifestyle, which is linked to numerous illnesses (physical and psychological). We could go on and on, but you can also check our scientific basis.

Despite spending a lot of time in nature, they live integrated in society. That won’t change just because they attend Forest School, and that’s a good thing! What they do get from attending Forest School is a set of skills that will allow them to face all the challenges of growing up. For example, moving on to primary school is always a challenge for any child, whether or not the child attended a Forest School. We believe it is the fact that children spend time in this context, the fact that they have gained essential skills that only Forest School can provide them with, that has enabled them to acquire a set of skills at all levels that will provide them with the necessary skills to adapt to new contexts in the best way possible!

Everything! Everything that children have an interest in learning — being the weight of a pinecone or how to climb a tree. This means they are learning basic maths, basic physic or how to use their body. These are all vital throughout their life.

Nature provides them with the best toys there are: rocks, sticks, dirt and leaves. This means that imagination will be the only frontier during play and we all know that imagination is endless! Besides, we believe that we can build whatever we like, be it toys, dens, shelters and anything else our imagination dictates.

Because this learning is focused on the individual and each child's skills and interests, we believe it is not necessary or justifiable to group them by age, because they all have something to learn from each other and age is not a defining factor for the development of each child. It has been proven that it is useful for younger children to learn with older children, but for older children, it is also crucial for their learning to support younger children — the best way to learn is to teach someone.

The professionals involved in this project have various skills and, at the same time, skills that complement each other — from kindergarten education to the certification as Forest School Leaders, as well as specialists in recreation, psychomotor rehabilitation and psychology.

Clothing that is adequate to the season. Basically, whatever they would take to the park. When it's cold and raining, they need to be prepared for it. The good news is, there are loads of alternatives, waterproof gear and wellies for all tastes.

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