I have had a dream for a while now. My dream was to be able to run a forest and nature school program, to be able to completely embrace the pillars and principles. For ECE’s who are already child-led and inquiry based, this is a natural extension. The concepts are really a way of thinking, a mind set.
In June 2019 I started my journey to become a Forest and Nature School Practitioner. I took the 1 week, hands on course with an ECE friend. We had such a good time and were inspired by 2 wonderful facilitators. From that week until this summer I had assignments to complete and I was so excited when I was notified that I was DONE!! Then the planning began.
For the 2 weeks, this summer, I was able to create and offer Growing Wild Forest & Nature School for children 5 to 10 year olds. It was a fantastic experience. With low ratios (1:5) we offered real tools to build with. The kids had access to hammers, nails, hand drills, saws. We also practiced our fire starting skills. So much great ‘risky’ play and so many great conversations about assessing those risks.
The kids embraced the experience! We would begin with a gathering circle around the fire pit and learning about the land we were on and the people that were here first through a land acknowledgment. Desiray taught us a bit about her culture and lead us in smudging.
When the kids went off, I was able to observe all that they were exploring, the challenges, the successes, the new friendships and the rekindling of old ones. They helped each other and cheered each other on! We were building a FNS community in 4 short sessions.
It was so sad to have it all end. For me, it gave me a chance to put my FNS skills into action and leave the world of pandemics aside. I like to think it was the same for the children and their families who attended.
What is next? I am already thinking about my next Growing Wild venture … Stay tuned! until then… Go Be Wild and Free!