What inspired you to become a Forest School Leader?
As a primary teacher I was able to see first hand the benefit that time outside had for my class. I tried to teach as many lessons as I possibly could on the field under the trees at school – getting kids to write, do maths challenges and make dens and mini fires as often as I was able. Once I heard about the possibility that I could educate children full time outside I was hooked. I booked onto the Outdoors Group course with my husband as a half term ‘treat’ and handed in my notice as a class teacher the following week. I had the pleasure of visiting a few different local forest schools and meeting some inspiration people who encouraged and supported me on my journey. Before I knew it I was working outside 5 days a week and really feeling like I was making a difference to the health and happiness of the children I was working with as well as vastly improving my own health and happiness.
What was your experience of the course, can you tell us one thing that stood out as a highlight for you?
I had no expectations of the course as the whole concept of Forest School was very new for me. I found it hard initially coming to understand the child-led nature of forest school and how the leader’s job is to facilitate and guide learning rather than plan an action-packed schedule of back to back activities. As the week progressed, I found talking to other members on the course and sharing our fears and worries about education hugely helpful and reassuring and it enabled me to take the leap to making Forest School my career.
How has it helped you in your career?
The leader training gave me the opportunity to see the options open to me as someone who is passionate about education, but who was feeling disenchanted by class teaching. It gave me the chance to learn new skills and network with like-minded educators. At the end of the day it also got me my current job, working for the Outdoors group as an Intervention leader, site manager of Tiverton Forest School and Leader training assistant.
Author: Annie Milverton, Forest School Manager
Related blog: Why become a Forest School Leader by Nick Muprhy