What is ‘Nature-deficit Disorder’?

The Forest School movement is seen as one way of providing an antidote to what has been termed ‘Nature-deficit Disorder’ and a substantial volume of research has been conducted to demonstrate its worth. This recognises that children have become increasingly alienated and distant from nature, leading to a growth in issues such as obesity, attention-deficit disorder, isolation and childhood depression. It is now widely accepted that woodlands provide opportunities for greater physical activity and healthier lifestyles. In addition contact with the natural environment can have a huge impact on mental health and well-being. For children with Special Educational Needs such as Autism Spectrum Disorders Forest School can have a very positive impact on both behaviour and learning. The restorative effect in terms of lifting mood and stabilising anger also means that children with emotional and behavioural difficulties can benefit significantly from their Forest School experience.