Forest school education


At ISCAT we follow the Forest Schools pedagogy – a Scandinavian initiative from the 1950’s now gaining in popularity at schools across Europe and in particular, the United Kingdom, which optimises the use of nature and the outdoors as a teaching and learning resource.

Outdoor activities are organised in natural settings, such as the forest, the mountains or the beach, with multiple benefits for students: improved personal relationships as well as increased self-esteem and self-knowledge. Different curricular areas are addressed in the Forest experience and environmental awareness develops and grows through team-building, creativity and problem-solving, all the while reinforcing positive relationships with peers.

Our ‘Forest’ teachers lead activities outside the classroom which are always based on student interest, and which foster their natural curiosity to explore and understand the natural environment.

At ISCAT the academic programme is complemented by our Forest School sessions. Every week different classes take turns to visit the local forest, dressing appropriately and according to season. These forest experiences allow students to learn about the local flora and fauna, how to minimise the environmental ‘footprint’, and very importantly, how to enjoy the magical experience which is the forest for any human being. Practical skills are also developed and as their confidence grows and experience is gained, they learn to use tools and fashion objects from wood, to prepare and light a fire in a safe and eco-friendly way, and to cook food in a simple manner in the open air. Our pre-historic ancestors lived in and from the forest, and re-visiting this experience connects with a deep and essential part of our human condition. It not only complements our academic programme with concrete learning experiences, it also helps to develop emotional intelligence and connect us with our spiritual core.

Forest School practitioners go through a rigorous three-year training, and two of ISCAT’s full-time teachers are fully-qualified Forest practitioners, with two more currently in training. ‘Forest’ at ISCAT has been mandatory for all our students since 2013, and we are currently the pioneer school for this model of education in Spain.