Forest Schools

Forest School Association: http://www.forestschoolassociation.org/what-is-forest-school/

Forest Schools are great, but you may sometimes struggle to find one locally. If you get a chance, I’d really recommend going along. It gives kids a chance to play outdoors in a mostly unstructured way, but also to try things that might be seen as ‘risky’, with oversight from a qualified professional.

Things you child might get to try include lighting fires, sawing wood, using a billhook (with help), making mud pies, swinging on a tree swing, resting in a hammock, boiling water over a campfire, fishing in a pond, looking at water insects, making a bow and arrow, making a stick sword, and many other activities. Exactly what each group does depends on the leader and the facilities available at the site.

The Forest School Association trains leaders, but a qualified leader runs the group in the way that they want, so there will be variation in time, amount of structure, etc. In the group we attended, which was a weekday one specifically for home educated children, there was minimal structure but lots of activities available. In some other groups, there might be more stuff planned out. The activities available will depend on the age of the children, too: obviously some things won’t be suitable for a toddlers group!

Overall, this is a great experience for my son, and I’m glad we tried it. Especially as I’m not that confident in woodcrafts, and wouldn’t have known how to do all this stuff myself. Plus it has improved our firelighting technique in the fireplace at home! 🙂

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