Bushcraft tools and construction... with Forest School!

Monday 12th June 2017

Our Forest School sessions are helping youngsters learn crucial teamwork schools that we think may help save the construction industry! Project Communications Assistant Emma Ackerley explains...

It has recently been announced that there is a shortage of construction workers in the UK, so any educational experiences that enhance relevant attributes and skills for the sector, such as teamwork, will be of great benefit to all... and we think Forest School can help!

Forest School involves a range of activities that foster team working attributes in children. Over the last few weeks, our Forest School Project Officer, Suzanne Stewart, has been teaching children at St Margaret Mary’s, Manchester, how to create their own wooden mallet out of Ash, using bow saws and bill hooks. They’ve also mastered different knotting methods - the ‘Timber Hitch’ and the ‘Tight Taught Tarp’ to use when building their dens.

Previously we’ve focused on using natural resources to build shelters, but this time we gave the children the opportunity to use tarp and ropes to build their own den. Alex, age nine said: “I like using the wood more because it’s good for recycling” - a future BREEAM surveyor or environmentalist in the making maybe?!

The children set off tying their tarps onto various trees. Fortunately for the girls (at this age) they have a few inches on the boys, and were quick to setup their tents, using their new mallets to hammer the pegs in. Making the mallets requires a great deal of team work, communication and concentration and with the help of the Forest School leader, they work together sawing and chopping the wooden mallet out of the Ash, and finishing off by sanding down the handle for easier grip.

Mr Davies, a member of staff says he thinks Forest School in particular helps the young boys develop crucial skills: “There are several of the lads who are kinaesthetic learners, who want to be doing things all the time.

"They want to do something for 10 seconds and then move on, so in a classroom that’s really hard to do but in this environment it enables the boys to thrive”.

After the children finish building their dens, they decide to furnish the interiors. One of the children even made his own sun lounger (pictured) and soon after finishing his snack he enjoyed a well earned 'power-nap' in it!

Hopefully the practical skills the youngsters have learnt during their Forest School sessions will stay with them until they are ready to choose their own career path. And who knows? Maybe these are the future engineer and construction workers to save the sector!

Our Forest School sessions would not be possible without the support from players of People's Postcode Lottery, which is a charity lottery. A minimum of 30% of ticket sales goes directly to charities and good causes. To date, players have raised £197.5 million for good causes across the country. Since 2015 we have reached over 1,325 children and expect to reach another 480 by the end of the year. We love Forest School, and we hope you do too, thank you to all who support us!

For more information, see our dedicated webpage here or contact Emma Ackerley at eackerley@lancswt.org.uk