Parents’ Perceptions of UK Forest School: Descriptive and Evaluative Aspects
Touloumakos, Anna K.
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Arvanitis, A., Touloumakos, A.K. and Barrable, A. (2022) ‘Parents’ perceptions of UK forest school: descriptive and evaluative aspects’, Forests, 13(8), p. 1314. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/f13081314.
Parental support for children’s Forest School (FS) education is likely connected to the parents’ own views about FS. We investigated parents’ perceptions of FS by performing a qualitative study on parents’ views, as expressed in an online forum for parents (Mumsnet). Findings were grouped into two main categories, descriptive (what FS is) and evaluative (FS is good or bad). Thematic analysis revealed five dimensions of evaluation: skills and knowledge, nature connectedness and physical/mental health, structure, inclusivity and enjoyment. Along these dimensions we uncovered tensions between opposing views. We also identified two strategies for dealing with these tensions, dismissal and balance. This is the first study that identifies dimensions of evaluation for FS and potential parent satisfaction. The implications are discussed.