I came to the outdoor Pre-School in 2018 having completed my Level 3 training and became the Registered Person of Park Hall Forest School in January 2020.
My first experience with Forest School came during my teacher training in 2006 when I spent a year at University in Finland. What became more fascinating to me than what I learnt on my course or in the Primary Schools I visited was my own son’s experience in his Kindergarten. I got to spend time there and see how the Forest School philosophy extended far further than simply spending time outside – children’s ideas were respected and explored, children were trusted to make decisions for themselves, children were enabled rather than instructed, the list of praise goes on! I liked it very much and through a decade of working in traditional prep schools in Pre-School, Reception and Year One classes, I always seemed to find myself outside of the classroom and bucking the trend in some way!
I love working in the forest for so many reasons, I like the space so that I can choose to be boisterous with others or work quietly just with one child, I love how the environment changes and we are so often surprised and amazed at what it offers us, I love that we don’t ever have to leave something we are enjoying halfway through because of a timetable, we roll with it! Most of all I believe that it is the very best experience for children – I know that I learn so much every session, not least about myself! It is a joy to bring this experience to families and I hope that Park Hall will be the first of many sites my team and I will develop so that we can bring this exciting experience to more and more children.
I am now continuing my own studies by researching the benefits of our approach to children and their families. It is important that we keep evolving what we do and that all the adults are learning alongside the children.