Forest School Ethos

Our Forest School program is a long-term process encouraging participants to return week after week. Development and growth are not expected instantly as we understand that participants need time to adjust to this new environment and way of learning before long-term developmental benefits will begin to show. It is understood that many of the difficulties which may arise in the early sessions of a program may well iron themselves out through the process of time.

A beautiful wooded site with open grassed, as well as densely grown areas is being gently developed for the benefit of the human nature connection. The sole purpose of this piece of land is to increase and support the love and respect our participants have for the natural world.

We believe that through this connection with nature we can find a deeper connection with ourselves, who are of course also a part of the natural world. Connecting with the natural world, including the self, promotes the holistic development of the self, fostering confidence, independence, and creativity. We put in place activities, scaffolding, and opportunities for all those involved to access this holistic development, through activities that stimulate the mind, body, spirit, and emotions.

We recognise that we all take risks. Risk-taking is a necessary part of living in this world. How a person takes risks and assesses the degree of risk involved in an activity varies between individuals. We support participants of all ages to take risks appropriate to themselves and their environment. We recognise that the individual is, or with the right support will become, the best judge of what level of risk is appropriate for themselves in any given moment. We believe that this ability to manage risk and make appropriate choices based on one’s own assessment builds resilient and confident individuals.

We are as committed to developing and maintaining our own professional and personal practice as we are aiding and supporting the development and growth of others. Each experience we have gives us the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of our own mental and physical processes and through these understandings puts us in a better place to help others develop their understanding of themselves and the world around them. By learning new skills and developing new understandings we increase the beneficial impact we can have on those around us.

In each moment the learner is our primary concern. This may be the child, the parent, the volunteer, and/or the leader. We develop our understanding of who needs what and when in order to promote wholesome learning for all involved. We aim to connect with like-minded people within our wider community and form a relationship with those who have the resources and the interest to add to the development of a learner-centered environment. We stay connected with the wider Forest School community to share knowledge, experiences, and ideas.

At Forest School, we support and encourage participants to speak out if they are the target of or witness bullying behaviour. We identify to the group who to speak in such a case. Through team-building activities, we aim to unite the group and thereby minimise the likelihood of bullying. We speak openly about feelings and encourage participants to share how they are feeling, daily, during circle time, bringing awareness to the correlation between action and feeling. In a case where bullying behaviour is reported we adopt a ‘no blame’ approach involving the group in a process by which Leaders/volunteers support the group in devising a plan to overcome the bullying and stop further bullying. The group implements its plan.

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