10 Years of Family Forest School at Eastwood
Monday, 18 April 2016
On Friday, 15 April in the woods was the grand re-opening and 10 year anniversary of the Forest School site at Eastwood. The site got destroyed in the Boxing Day floods and after a lot of hard work by a lot of very kind people they were ready to get back there for the first time since December.
The family sessions at Eastwood were started way back in 2006 by founders Emily, Lisa and Lizzie who at that time between them had 9 children and were looking for something different and interesting to do for and with youngest children. Tilda, Cerridwen, Aster and Fenner were there at the beginning and today Tilda and Cerridwen now aged 12, returned to cut the ribbon and re open the site for the families and young children of 2016!
About 30 families old and new were there. Since the flood, the site has been re-fenced, planted with edible hedging, reworked the pond by taking tons and tons of mud out, and new paths and mud kitchens have been created.
As ever at Forest School, the space enables activity in many many different directions; digging; daffodil counting; catching tadpoles; watching the fire; whittling sticks; cooking; lying in the hammock; making sand and mud pies; chatting and just loving being outside!
Some time was spent thinking back 10 years.
Tilda and Cerridwen, what was forest school like when you were little and what was it like going back today?
When we were little the forest school site felt really big to us (although it only went from the fence to where the pond is now). We most liked to dig holes behind the shed and cook bread and marshmallows on the fire. We used to make chapattis and eat them sat in the little den thing which has gone now.
We went to forest school when it was sunny, rainy, muddy, cold, wet – everything. We liked it a lot. Today the site still felt really small to us even though it has grown a lot over the years. It was really busy this morning with loads of families there all really enjoying the fact that the forest school was back on. This morning we toasted bread and (surprisingly) re dug a hole again behind the shed! We felt really massive compared to the really cute children who were there.
We can't remember a lot about when we were 2, and when we were asking the adults who were there this morning – they can't remember a lot about 10 years ago either!! Geoff was doing something with movies in Sydney, Arif was in Goa India, Rachel was on her honeymoon, Tom was in the Lake District, another Rachel was just starting her new job in Kirklees College, Sarah was studying for her exams at Uni, Ben was working out what he wanted to do when he was older, Polly was probably sat at a desk doing work for an international development agency, Richard was working in a psychiatric hospital, and another Sarah was having some sleep - which she is hoping to get more of in ten years' time.
People in the woods were asked about what they would like to be doing in 10 years' time from now. They said that they still want to be coming to forest school. Ben would like to be doing more running and mountain bike riding - he will be 47! Rachel expects to be negotiating with teenagers, Tom would like to be ruler of the world, Neely would like to be living in Australia for 6 months of the year not working too much and having a good time and Polly would like to be visiting India.
In 10 years' time we will both be 22; we might be at college or in Uni doing dance or art or music, drama, or maths!
We asked why people liked coming to Forest school. They told us it's good because its gives the children chance to be free, and lets them run around; it's a beautiful friendly place; it's great to be getting outside in the fresh air; "It is awesome!" was one answer we got as well as the fact the forest school makes them happy!
When we went to forest school as young children we thought it was really fun, and everyone should go at some point in their lives.
If you would like to find out more about Tinderwood Trusts Forest School for schools families and professionals then please do get in touch and let's see what we can do to make learning reconnected up with nature. We look forward to hearing from you.