The children have now returned to school, and it is with a pang in my heart that I am reminiscing about my experience as a forest school leader during this Summer 2020. You know, reflecting on our Summer time in the woods, one thing that struck me every time is the generosity of the woodland: welcoming us, allowing our children to experience a day of magic, allowing our girls to reconnect with the magic they hold in themselves, for nothing in exchange. Nothing is demanded of us in the woods, except what our own ethics asks of. The woodland is a neutral backdrop offering a multitude of opportunities for a child's imagination.
The Girls have demonstrated over and over again how feeling safe in the environment allows their creativity to bloom (and sometimes it has to take time). As Forest School Leaders, we come prepared with activities that the girls have a choice over if they would like to engage with or not. Our activities are not prescriptive and do not demand a defined end product. For us, it is all about the process, witnessing the Girls evolving over the session and over the weeks with us. As a Forest School leader this way of working is important. My aim is for the girls to stay connected with their intuition, with that innate sense of knowing that nurture them at this precise moment. Learning to use one’s own intuition is not always a straight forward process. At times it can be messy; practically, emotionally and physically. The beauty of forest school is there is no time constraint for the process to evolve through. Challenges can be picked up the following session - individuals can be supported and learning can take place as we bring the same activities along. The activity can be similar but the wood always are allowing other perspectives to be discovered. We work to empower the girls by supporting their own natural rhythm of development and growth. We work this way as each child has her own rhythm of development and it is a non-shaming way of working. The Girls learn to perfect their own technique being at climbing, fire making, walking the ropes, den making, singing, creating a show or pottery etc... . They find new challenges to set themselves, trialing out, amending, trying out again, adding a bit of this, mixing a bit of that. As adults, we sometime can bypass what is actually happening as we may not be able to see an end product or a sense of finality in the process; however the power of their creativity and intuition is growing BIG and it is such a privilege to witness... ...and that is why I will continue to do what I do best, accompanying the children as a Forest school Leader in their journeys, of experimenting, exploring and setting boundaries, pushing boundaries, because believe or not, they are good at setting boundaries for themselves, pushing them a bit further when they need to for their personal evolution. That what nature has taught me and what this woodland is certainly demonstrating to us every time we visit, by accompanying us in this life journey without an agenda.
~ Victoria ~
TIDE Forest School Leader