My Forest School Journey – Part One

New Beginning

This series of blog posts will chart my journey – this is based on my personal reflection which I completed as part of my Forest School Leaders qualification.

Why I Started the Course

I made the decision to start the Forest School (FS) leaders course in the autumn of 2017. I went to meet with Alison Crowther at Everdon Outdoor Learning Centre to chat through the contents of the course as I couldn’t make the forest school morning the site had offered. She was frank and honest with me about the amount of work (she was right it’s been a lot and its been far more challenging for me to complete than I realised at the time) and commitment it would take. She was again honest with me when I said I hope to make a business out of running forest schools, telling me I certainly wouldn’t make my fortune!

A different view

It was a big financial decision, the course was about £850 and my step-dad kindly lent me the money to follow this dream. It was difficult to explain exactly why the course pulled me so much. I’d never even seen a forest school session in practice. Looking back now I think I can identify the triggers and pulls which had me sign up to this whirlwind journey. 

I’m a teacher. I love teaching. I left my old life as an economist after my daughter was born, when I returned from maternity leave I realised that life in the Civil Service wasn’t for me, the travel to London meant I hardly saw my daughter and husband, I was unhappy and unhealthy, both mentally and physically (terrible back pain kept me off work for some time.) I had always wanted to teach so signed up for a PGCE. Fast forward 7 years and I work part time at a lovely school in Banbury, have done since I qualified. Its not always been easy but one thing has always been consistent. I love my time in the classroom with children. But in all honesty that is really only the tip of the iceberg. The paperwork, meetings, long hours, marking, observations, extra curricular clubs, subject leader responsibility, going to bed worrying about children you know aren’t having a good time at home – these are the things which have made me wonder if teaching is the right job for me. But I can’t stress enough, being with children is wonderful. So what now?

Outdoors with my family

I love to be outdoors, I love my garden, I love learning about plants and trees and the wildlife around me. I know being outside helps me with my depression and anxiety. I know when I take groups of children outside they are happier, they learn more. Can I do both? Can I teach children, play a part in their learning and development and be outside more? It seems that maybe Forest School might be the way. I did some research, I loved the ethos I took the plunge and sent the email and got myself on the course!

Into the unknown

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