Mudlark Finds Number 15 is a collaboration between the Forest School Association and Sylva for a new crowd-sourcing campaign to bring more children and more woodlands together through play across the UK. The aim is to raise £30,000 to make available more woodlands, up-skill more enthusiastic adults, and provide many more play-filled opportunities for children, in an environment that meets their deep human need to interact with and bond with nature.
I’ve just made a small contribution – all it takes is lots and lots of small actions to build into something quite significant. Watch the film describing the work and if you’d like to contribute, you can do so on this site; and if you know of anyone else who might want to, please point them in this direction. There is plenty of material here to help make the case to those as yet unfamiliar with Forest School.
The Forest School Association (FSA) is also launching a map-search and database of FSA verified qualified practitioners to help support the principle that FS is run by qualified L3 practitioners, whilst giving a clear message that FS qualification is absolutely not necessary to take children outside! (my emphasis) “Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education.” http://www.forestschoolassociation.org/what-is-forest-school/
I’ll be keen to pick this up with the FSA to unravel some of the concerns we in the on-site outdoor play support sector have about the often-perceived ‘requirement’ for further qualification that goes beyond providing the confidence needed for working in off-site (or even on-site) natural environments.
Thanks to my great friend Erin Kenny for the images of children’s everyday play in Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten, on Vashon Island, Washington State, USA, which I visited in July 2012. Erin has written about Cedarsong in Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way, in which shares her own journey of learning about what it actually means to provide an immersive preschool experience in an outdoor woodland habitat, and the realities of being authentically in the outdoors (I wrote the forward for her book). You can find the book on Amazon.com (but not yet on amazon.co.uk).
With this section of my website, I share some of the many wonderful treasures I dig up while researching and supporting outdoor play for children from birth to seven. I hope they inspire you too, and help you to create motivational, meaningful and satisfying outdoor play experiences for all the children you work with.