It has been encouraging to read the many social media posts and blogs that our members are sharing with their Forest School communities, giving tiny tastes of Forest School that their families can be using to stay connected. Bringing messages of hope, reminding people that nature has so much to be curious about and that Spring really is on its way. Sharing play prompts, our enthusiasm and passion for Forest School is a powerful way to continue role modelling how human beings need nature and each other.
As Forest School leaders we are used to being proactive rather than reactive. Understanding risks, being clear about the benefits. Seeing our own behaviour and the behaviour of others as communication. We are practised at sharing our own difficulties and worries, building psychological safety and role modeling how to listen without judgement.
This is a time for us all to decide what kind of leaders we want to be, both within our own families and to consider what our client groups are going to need from us, once this storm has passed. This may be a rich opportunity to share our understanding of play, our knowledge of building compassionate, effective learning communities.
Some of us are still working in schools, or on our own sites providing sessions for children of key workers. Continuing to bring the power of nature and community into children’s lives at a time of great uncertainty.
You may have come across research and reports from the Education Endowment Fund. This infographic has some useful thoughts including:
‘Parents can support their children by encouraging them to
set goals, plan, and manage their time, effort, and emotions.
This type of support can help children to regulate their own
learning and will often be more valuable than direct help
with homework tasks.’
It almost sounds as if the author of this has visited Forest School! Sharing the holistic, learner-centred approach of Forest School may be a great gift to parents finding themselves battling to get children sat at a table, filling in worksheets. Offering parents ways of engaging children and young people in the big issues facing us all, giving them agency and showing how to offer meaningful learning without subject boundaries, rich experiences with the resources to hand at home and in the garden.
This is not ‘Home Schooling’. Parents who choose to home school take children to museums, art centers, make music with friends, take their children to community Forest School groups, follow their children’s interests. For now, these options are closed to us.
These are exceptional times. Forest School posts from our community may keep families hopeful and rescue children from hours of sedentary television and computer games. Sharing our own thoughts, feelings, and mistakes as we spend more time with our own families or on our own will be a great way of modeling what it is to be human, to find solace in the natural world around us.
Forest School practitioners are adaptive, responsive and proactive. This is a time where our ability to be three steps ahead of our groups will be hugely valuable. Together, as a community, ‘we need to learn faster than the world around us is changing’ (David Clutterbuck). Ensuring that we are in a position to provide the very best holistic support for our children, young people, families and adults, once this time has passed.
These are exceptional times. Forest School posts may keep families hopeful and rescue children from hours of sedentary television and computer games.’
wherethefruitis.co.uk, FSA Director