Part one of three
It does not seem like 20 years ago! Gatwick Airport might seem a strange place to begin this environmental journey. Sitting in a pub where many great ideas are hatched, next to the newly appointed Gatwick biodiversity manager, Catherine Pye (Cat pie to her friends). A comment from Cat over a pint, ‘ever heard of Forest Schools?’ was the seed that grow into the Sussex’s Forest School community, as we know it today.
Working in a big community college in Crawley as a learning support teacher in 2003 was full of opportunities to explore alternative approaches to education. Add an inspirational SENCO and a progressive head teacher, and the vision was realised.
Using Engaging Young Learners funding, we invited Gordon Woodall and his team for the day to lead a typical Forest School experience with the hope of enlightening staff and pupils of its worth.
The day dawned and it was raining. The year 10’s pupils we had invited, were not all-weather adventurers. As we prised them out of the mini bus and handed out borrowed water proofs, our hearts sank. We were far from optimistic; this idea was going to be a disaster. However, Gordon and his team were past masters at leading reluctant learners. In no time at all, the pile of discarded waterproofs grew smaller. Our young adults remembered the joy of play as they built shelters, created home bases and cooked their own lunch over the open fire. The day was a success not only for our young people. The school leadership team realised that Forest School had a role to play supporting our more challenging learners.
The next real challenge was how to finance and structure it into a busy, large secondary school…
Help celebrate FSA Sussex’s 20th Birthday in style at the:-
01 Jul, 09:00 – 02 Jul, 12:00
Calcot Farm, Steyning BN44 3AL, UK
2023 is the 20th anniversary of our Forest School Association local group based in Sussex.
This deserves a BIG celebration!
We have planned an exciting mini festival for our Forest School people to come together and enjoy. Join us for workshops, music, talks, campfires, food, drink and camping overnight.
To find out more click on the link below