Hello, my name is Georgie and I recently started at Kids’ Country as the Forest School Leader. All my life I have loved being outside and love how going for a walk or being outdoors makes you feel amazing. This passion first began when I was 17 and started working with a SENCO school and at every chance, I worked with the young people I supported outside.  It was amazing to see how much the young people’s behaviour changed when working outside- they were much calmer and happier. Following this I worked for a small charity supporting young people and families with autism, down syndrome, and cerebral palsy.  Some of the young people I supported battled with their mental health, but once I gained my Forest School Leader Qualification and worked with them in a woodlands environment their attitude towards learning and participating in educational activities changed and I loved watching young people flourish and hit personal milestones they never imagined hitting.  Many young people I supported struggled with their communication, social skills and fine/gross motor skills but as they began doing forest school activities such as den building, making bug hotels, nature crafts and making fires I began to see to see positive changes in their development in all these areas. Seeing them develop and come on with their developmental areas and be proud of themselves for accomplishing new millstones was by far the highlight of my job. They loved coming to my sessions and learning about flora, fauna and various other wildlife facts. They were engaged and happy to be there doing Forest School, I am now very much looking forward to inspiring and engaging young children in being outdoors and helping to further there learning and development in this way.

Forest school is an amazing child-centred teaching approach that allows young people to explore the outdoors and learn what the outdoors has to offer us. Forest School improves on holistic growth, mental health, wellbeing, self-esteem, confidence, and the physical health of young children. Forest School allows adults to plan outdoor activities such as den building, fire making, bug spotting, and various other activities and watch young children participate in these in a child led manner.  Children are given the opportunity to access the environment using their own choice as well as having a range of different resources and activities on offer to stimulate and support their leaning in a variety of different ways.  Children can join in with making a fire, nature crafts or fact file activities or they can choose to do something off schedule such as search for creepy crawlies, bird watch or explore the mud kitchen. This aspect of freedom and trust encourages young children to explore, take risks and inspires learning and critical thinking in a natural setting.

Forest school offers an inspirational environment where children can learn, work on their social skills as well as benefitting their wellbeing. It is wonderful to see children who are engaged in their own active learning, and to see the skills and learning that is gained from participating in Forest School session and this is why I’m so excited to be leading Forest School with the lovely little people at Kids’ Country and watch as they flourish and grow while working outdoors.