Promoting Learning and Development: the Role of the Forest School Leader…
Promoting Learning and Development: the Role of the Forest School Leader
Is the child engaged in a particular schema?
Have they reached a sensitive period? (Montessori Method)
Which stage of emotional development are they at?
What types of intelligence do they display? How does this child learn?
Where is the child at now? What support do they need to progress? E.g. emotional, kindness, resources, practical skills, social skills. Is now the right time to introduce a progression?
See tips for skilful use of praise below: an opportunity to build children's self-esteem and motivation
Autoeducation: child-led learning. Children decide which activities they take part in.
Showing children how to make and discover things for themselves
See below for more tips
Offering support, guidance and a helping hand when necessary
Rather than a top-down model of a teacher delivering information to children... Assisting children to discover and explore their own interests
When it comes to interpersonal disputes or difficulties with a project the leader should actively involve the children in devising a way forward. Ask children to state the problem and come up with possible solutions. Support them with this if necessary - adding in my own suggestions or encourage them to do this independently if they can.
Pick up on the children's interests and make suggestions as to how these could shape the rest of the session, and inspire further activities. Once the children learn that they can lead the session, they will become more confident to put suggestions forward.
Modelling Appropriate Behaviour
things may not work out first time, such as lighting a fire, putting up a shelter, burning the popcorn! It is very powerful for a child to watch an adult not succeeding at something first time... and seeing how the adult handles the setbacks.
Similarly children can learn emotional skills through observing adults. This can include how to manage frustration, for example when losing a game.
If there are too many adults, encouraging volunteers to engage in their own projects.
Joy of learning.
Display curiosity and kindness towards the natural world. If the leader is excited, engaged and fascinated it's likely that the children will be too.
Safety: Encouraging Appropriate Risk-Taking
Children are given the opportunity to learn and practice risk-assessing for themselves in a safe environment, whilst being supervised by the Forest School Leader. The leader must of course follow the safety rules themselves, as the children will be watching and learning through observation
sensitively updating the plan after each session to respond to the needs of individuals and what they are learning
Plan sessions to facilitate a
progression of learning
over time to enable skills and knowledge to develop
Providing a variety of opportunities for development, specifically aimed at the target group as a whole and considering individuals.