Podcast Episode 12.  The forest is a great place to learn about ourselves as well as the rhythms of nature, according to Laura Ashfield an outreach worker at the Surrey Wildlife Trust.  More than this, she passionately believes the forest is a place that can help us discover our place in the world.

Discovering a place in the world, we know as parents to children with additional needs, is very important. Sometimes feelings of insecurity can be overwhelming. Maybe the forest and forest schools could hold part of the answer.

Laura shares her experiences as an outreach worker, and gives some uplifting examples of young people she’s worked with. The ethos of forest school is straightforward: it’s all about developing resilience, self-esteem and independence.

Forest schools are self-directed to give young people, who may in other areas of their lives feel like they have little control, a space to be themselves and do what they want to do in a safe but challenging environment. Laura also points out that there is time in the woods to just be and that ultimately boredom breeds creativity.

Show Notes
[.50] – All about Laura, role and what the Surrey Wildlife Trust does
[2.00] – What a forest school is all about which is self-directed learning
[2.30] – Opportunities for risky play within guidelines and with support
[4.50] – Ethos of forest schools – building resilience, self-esteem and independence
[6.00] – Learning to cooperate, negotiate, work as a team and express positive and negative emotions
[7.55] – ‘Adults not on Top on Tap’
[8.30] – Using the woods to develop motor skills
[9.30] – Allowing time in the woods
[11.25] – Boredom breeds creativity
[12.40] – Finding your own forest school and what to do when you’re out there
[13.40] – Age is no barrier
[14.50] – Finding perspective
[15.30] – Getting into ‘flow state’
[18.40] – It’s the process not the product that matters
[19.30] – Transferring skills learnt to outside the forest
[20.45] – Self-knowledge leads to resilience and persistence


Key Takeaways
Using outdoor places to find a place and space in the world
Boredom breeds creativity