What a blast the year has been so far. I have been supporting 6 new Forest School trainees - Mel, Steph, Josh, Emma, Michelle and Louise - in a lovely school called St Mary's RC Primary in Radcliffe, Manchester since January 2019.
On our initial meeting last year I knew the year ahead would be fun. All the candidates were very keen and eager to learn new skills to pass onto their pupils. We had a plan in place to all arrive early, set up the outdoor area, view the activities for the two sessions ahead and have a brew. This format has proven to work well and we even tweak the activities to suit the children’s individual needs on the day.
We started our journey by assisting a member from our school grounds team with a spot of willow weaving. The school have requested a willow walkway, carved oak leaf story chair with beautiful mushroom seating, two raised dipping ponds and a variety of established native trees and plants.
Once the trainees had completed their initial five-day Forest School training, and then another two skill assessment days they were all filled with inspiring ideas to share with each other and the children joining us.
The support and guidance they give to each other when struggling to identify plants and trees, or when tying knots is fantastic. They appreciate that everyone (even themselves) learns at a different pace and in a different style.
It is a pleasure to support them through their Forest School journey and the children get to see their teachers in a more informal and relaxed manner. The outdoor surroundings is a more nurturing and caring aspect to the normal school day, when the children are only accessing the outdoor area during lunchtime and morning break.