THE ROLE OF THE FOREST SCHOOL LEADER
What is the meaning of being a forest school leader? Truth is, it will often look like I am not doing very much… If someone were to observe me with the children they would see me standing watching and not getting involved, not joining in unless invited, not shouting across the woodland 'Be careful! That’s dangerous! Don't run! Stop doing that!" or telling the children that they must share everything.
However, I do more than you see me do or more than you think I do. While in the session, I watch and take in what the children do. I then spend two or more hours planning and evaluating, I observe them play with activities that look to build on each individual’s interest, experience and schemes in the following session. I look for specific areas that I can scaffold the child’s learning. Do I have things enabling me to organise a bug hunt? What books do I have that will help them identify different types of bugs next week?
I am there for the children to be free and I need to give them that freedom so that they can play and explore, get dirty, not have a sense that they are letting anyone down. I provide an environment in which children work things out for themselves with support but not directive. Empowering them with confidence to choose their path in their environment and their relationships.
I facilitate their learning and they are always the ones who choose what to do: they decide how to solve a problem or go about something and I will support them in their decision. However, I do keep them safe while dynamically risk assessing throughout the evolving session. I am giving them opportunities to take risks. I make sure that can take them and that they will be cared for and listened to all the time. I am their most committed mascot; I will always cheer them on.