PARENTS
02/10/2018 09:58 BST | Updated 02/10/2018 16:27 BST

Kate Middleton Returns From Maternity Leave With A Visit To A Forest School

But what actually is a forest school? 🍃🌳

The Duchess of Cambridge is making her return from maternity leave with a visit to a forest school on Tuesday 2 October. .

Kate Middleton, whose youngest child Prince Louis is just over five months old, is heading to meet pupils at the Paddington Recreation Ground in London.

The Duchess will see how the Sayers Croft Forest School and Wildlife Garden is helping children’s emotional and physical wellbeing.

She will join in with sessions and hear from instructors about the beneficial effects of outdoor learning. 

Although Kate has appeared at events such as the RAF centenary, Trooping the Colour and Wimbledon, as well as celebrating the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding, this is her first official solo engagement since Louis’ arrival.

This forest school, which had more than 5,500 visits by schoolchildren from across Westminster and neighbouring boroughs last year, gives inner city children the chance to engage with the natural world.

When the Duchess visited a primary school in South West London last November to see its gardening projects, she told pupils she had “fond memories” of being outdoors as a child, and was passing that passion on to her own children.

WPA Pool via Getty Images
Duchess of Cambridge visits the Robin Hood Primary School to celebrate ten years of The Royal Horticultural Society.

Some people get confused about what a forest school is. It doesn’t mean a child’s school is located in a forest, nor does it mean all lessons take outside either. Rather, the philosophy of forest schooling is to encourage and inspire kids of any age through positive outdoor experiences.

Forest schools see children visit the same local woodlands on a regular basis to learn about the natural environment, how to handle risks and how to use their own initiative to solve problems and co-operate with others.

Children are encouraged to spend time outside to the woods in all weathers (apart from high winds) to learn and play. It’s worth noting that no two forest schools are exactly the same – while some may host lessons for pupils during the school day, others are reserved for extra-curricular activities and trips. 

Opportunities at a forest school might include shelter building, woodland and traditional crafts, exploring landscapes, studying wildlife, rope and string work, sensory activities, and developing stories through meeting imaginary characters.

Does your child go to a forest school? We’d love to hear from you. Email ukparents@huffpost.com. 

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