Holistic play based learning for the head, the hands and the heart!
Forest Camp has its roots fixed in the Forest School movement, roots which are held together in a nutritious soil filled with all the goodness of an experiential education summer camp in the USA called Interlocken that Danny used to work and play at, then later became Director. We encourage creativity, uniqueness/acceptance and positive risk taking while asking the children to consider the values of treating themselves, each other and the natural world with fairness and kindness.
The program offers children an opportunity to play, learn about the natural world and try a variety of skills and activities ranging from nature art, music and outdoor yoga to bushcraft, outdoor skills and campfire cooking. It is all carried out in a play based fashion where children join activities as and when they like and are not ‘forced' into the program. We also create an environment where children feel like they are part of a community and each day they volunteer to do things that keep the whole experience in 'flow', these range from fire monitors (we always have warm food and drinks) to random acts of kindness. Throughout the whole program we try to foster a sense of community where people recognise that the whole is greater than it's individual parts, all of whom rely on each other to flourish.
Along with being a ton of fun this type of program is heavily linked with positive physical, social and emotional development and all of our activities are designed in a way that children feel connected with the natural world. We also keep the program small (between 20-30 children) to ensure everybody feels like, and is a part of the community with nobody getting ‘lost’ amongst the numbers.
Our staff have extensive experience working with children and young people with skills as Youth Workers, Art Teachers, Photography Teachers, Outdoor Education Professional, Forest School Leader, Outdoor Instructors, Child Yoga and Child and Adolescent Counselling.
Although we have a great time and it's an excellent and very worthwhile experience for everybody there are times, like on any program when things don't run as smoothly as we'd like. When this happens we don't become all totalitarian but instead turn the responsibility towards the children and give them the power to govern their own community, with us acting as equal members. I'm often amazed at how well they manage this responsibility and have seen disagreements and quarrels overcome when particular children have brought up their discontent during the community gathering which happens at the end of each day. To date the only one time that we've encountered any problems was when one child disagreed with the 'one marshmallow policy' and asked for votes on making a new rule that allowed children extra marshmallows, of course they all voted YES and for the next two days we sent children home both happy and slightly hyper.