The beginnings of Woodlanders Forest School

The Gills.

Welcome to my blog!

In recent years I have discovered that I love writing. I wanted to start a blog to share my thoughts and why I do what I do.

Woodlanders Forest School is just in its infancy. Some of you will know me from Stepping Stones Playgroup which with Catherine Bush we started in August 2017. I completed my level 3 Forest School qualification in the Spring and I now have some time and space to start developing my next venture.

I am passionate about the outdoors and before having a career break to have children I worked carrying out the practical habitat management on nature reserves. That was over 5 years ago and now I am branching off in a slightly different direction of Forest School, outdoor education and nature studies for both children and adults.

You will notice I will be very specific when I use the term Forest School. It is not something I will use for everything I do. Forest School is a long term programme delivered to a small group enabling me as a mentor to respond to a child's needs and interests. Anything else I will call a woodland session and this is a clear distinction for me. Playing in the woods is a wonderful thing but Forest School offers something unique in the way it enables the holistic development of a child. What sets it apart from environmental education is the opportunity for emotional development and that is where the long term programme is essential. As a practitioner I will probably never see the result of my work. It could be in many years from now, perhaps at a time of stress or challenge that the seed of what I have sewn germinates. I can get hung up in the developmental nuances of Forest School but what I come back to time and again is that its just good for the soul to be outdoors. I don't think I will every truly pin down what Forest School is and it is only now that I have studied it for over a year that I am seeing glimpses of why it is so special and unique. I don't think I'll every really find out, I will continually learn from the children I have the pleasure of spending my time with and mother nature.

I look forward to embarking on this journey with you all and hope that my knowledge and passion for the outdoors can touch your lives and enthuse the next generation to be custodians of our countryside.

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