WHAT IS FOREST SCHOOL?
Originating in Scandinavia, Forest School is both an ethos and a practice that through hands-on practical experience builds confidence and self-esteem. It is free-flowing and child-led and gives participants the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to their surrounding environment and to themselves. They are given time and space to understand boundaries, what is safe and unsafe and to challenge themselves and each other. Practitioners are there for safety and to observe and sessions are reviewed and adapted to suit the needs of the individual learners.
Sessions can include the supervised use of saws and knives, making fires, collecting natural materials to make and create things, building dens as well as lots of free natural and wild play, uninterrupted by adults.
I am Aliex, a mum of two spirited children and a Level 3 Forest School Practitioner. I used to work in children’s television, a career which I loved and during my time had the pleasure of working with many inspiring people including Bill Oddie and David Attenborough. I travelled the country making wildlife programmes for CBeebies, worked on a few BAFTA-nominated shows and was very lucky to win my own for a show I helped create. I lived in London for 13 years and worked hard to build my career in something I was passionate about. However I could never quite put my finger on it but I had a constant yearning. I would ache to be back in the countryside where I had grown up. Every so often I would reach the limit of my tolerance for the city. I would have to get out. Retreat to the open space, to be able to really breath.
Then when I became a parent I realised that the fundamental thing I cherished from my childhood was the complete and utter freedom I had to roam within the space where I grew up. I was totally immersed in nature and my passion for being outside was and is so ingrained and so acutely necessary to my being that I could hardly fathom a world for my children where they did not have the same freedom to explore the natural world that I did. Having filmed a Forest School session during my TV career I was totally inspired. I realised that if in any way I could be part of helping to give children the same sort of exposure to the natural world that I had, connecting them in a way that would mean they would care about their environment then this would be the most fulfilling thing I could do.
Today, in our technological world freedom to explore outdoors is becoming harder for children-but it is essential! Breathing in fresh air, getting your hands muddy and exploring the natural environment really truly does make you feel better, live longer and keeps you healthy.
So while I was pregnant with my second baby I trained for my Forest School Leader qualification and during this time I was offered a job in a local primary school to help set up and run their Forest School programme. I then had the opportunity to take on running some pre-schooler sessions for children and their parents and so Wild Ones began. I have been so inspired to inspire others. For years I have been banging on about the benefits of NATURE but really you don’t have to do much to get out and enjoy it. Kids just need to PLAY outside and they need freedom and space from us to do it! Given the opportunity it is surprising how long they can actually spend playing with a stick!
Wild Ones is about getting your kids outside, so come on get up, get out and get wild!
Our aim is to inspire and engage, working on self-esteem, independence and building confidence, giving every child the opportunity to express themselves individually. In an ever-changing environment, we encourage children to be aware of the diversity which surrounds them and to work in harmony with it. Developing critical new skills and connecting them with the natural world so they establish a life long and lasting relationship with nature.