This month’s blog will focus on the views of the parents. We know how amazing Forest School is but we thought we’d have a few of our parents comment about how their children have progressed and how they know their children enjoy coming.
I was very apprehensive about sending my little girl to preschool and was and still am not sure about mainstream schooling. Then I found out about Nature to Nurture and felt such relief that this amazing, child-led, outdoor environment with amazing teachers whose ideas completely resonated with mine about schooling. Ava loves going to forest school and talks about her friends and teachers a lot. During half term, she misses playing in forest school, so I know she’s enjoying it. She also goes to a ‘regular’ preschool that is closer by 3 mornings a week and whenever I ask her which one she prefers, she always says forest school. The biggest change I have seen in her is physical. She never liked walking much, but now she’ll walk everywhere. She is a lot more confident climbing in the park and the playground and picks herself back up when she falls, so she’s gained resilience too. She’s a calm and quiet type of girl and can get a bit overwhelmed when other kids are playing boisterous, but forest school provides plenty of space for her to find a quiet spot and other kids to run, so she doesn’t feel trapped. She’s also learned valuable skills that she applies in our day to day lives. Such as standing still when she sees a bike approaching in the park. She does it outside of school too and makes her brother join her. So skills she’s learned in forest school are actually making her daily life safer. She was always a little clever clogs that enjoyed arts and drawing and i just thought she would never be a child to enjoy physical activity, but forest school has nurtured a love for physical play in her, whilst also supporting and deepening her affection for the things she was already passionate about, such as drawing and imaginative play. And on top of that, she’s teaching me things she’s learned in school. I’ve gained knowledge about trees, fungi, plants and insects that i didn’t have before. Having the comparison between ‘regular’ preschool and forest school I can clearly see she is learning much more in this outdoor environment that is engaging all her senses. she’s not bothered about falling in the mud or her hands getting dirty. she’ll still be upset if she hurts herself when she falls, but she won’t get upset just by the shock of falling or getting dirty, and she’s also learned to try again, not to be defeated or scared, but to pick herself up and do it again. MASSIVE change!
My son used to go to a regular nursery and spend his time outside in the small yard riding a bike in circles. He was walking, talking could count, fully potty trained yet he was stuck in a classroom with babies that couldn’t even walk. I complained and they put him up to the pre school but they wanted him sat at a desk doing activities but he wouldn’t keep still, I’d have to tire him out before we got there as in previous school they only went out a couple of times a day. After a few weeks he started to cry every time we went, to the point where I was physically dragging him in, this was traumatic for both of us. I pulled him out, it reinforced every negative thought that I felt about the state of the education system that I’d seen fist hand as a primary/secondary teacher. I decided then to home educate. After doing a lot of research in liked the idea of forest school and when I joined the Liverpool home ed group someone had posted about nature to nurture. Even though it takes over an hours travel every day he goes it’s been well worth it. From his first day we’ve never had any nervousness or tears, he’s happy and confident. Every day he asks if he’s going to forest school, he talks about his friends that he should made and even knows their names. In his last nursery there were so many he just called them “the kids”. I think he was frustrated, bored and staying in that environment would have not be suited to his style of learning. Now he will walk for hours unlike most of my friends children, he never moans about it being cold or wet. He always asks to go to the woods or the beach or up a mountain and he see everything as something to play with and climb, he is a lot more agile and self aware. He’s always going on about risk assessments and has more fun than being stuck in with toys. His immune system is better he’s not constantly ill
The decision to send our little girl to forest school was one we made quite easily after being subtly introduced to all it has to offer through attending toddler forest school sessions;,boundless opportunities for imaginative play, problem solving, space & natural resources to explore, create and discover. Whilst we were initially attracted to the physical advantages we felt an outdoor nursery had to offer our child, what we hadn’t anticipated was the vast difference in our little girls awareness and appreciation for her surroundings, an ability t assess environmental risks, her ability to work with others as a team and the massive shift in confidence we have seen. It has soared! This is something we acquaint with having the freedom to explore but also to the passion and enthusiasm each member of the nature to nurture team adopts in their approach to the children. The nursery adopts a holistic approach and the relationship the staff have with each individual child is testaminet to this.
Each day my little girl attends outdoor nursery is an adventure and no two days are the same. Adventure encapsulates the very essence of being 3 and we feel so very lucky to have nature to nurture who provide adventure and magic by the bucketload.