Trees in a green forest

“What should I do before I start my Forest School Leader’s Course?”

Are you at that point where you are booked onto, or looking to book onto, a Forest School Leader’s Course and now have to wait for it to start? Are you looking for things you can do to help prepare you for the course?

Here are a few tips and activities to help …

Go for a walk in the woods

As if you needed an excuse to get out and enjoy some time in nature, well now you have one. If there is one thing that you can do to prepare yourself for a Forest School Leader’s Course is to get out in the woods.

Forest School Leaders are comfortable outside in all weathers and all seasons. You may already be, but if you haven’t had much opportunity recently, take the time to reacquaint yourself with nature.

Each time you go out pay attention to a different topic or aspect.

We all have our favoured topics.

Mine is tracking.
A walk in the woods for me tends to be an opportunity to explore what animals have walked the same paths as me in the last week or so. My eyes tend to be drawn to animal sign, tracks and scat. It takes a conscious focus for me to look at another aspect of the woods.

There is a story about attention I often tell.
I taught search and rescue for a number of years and one activity we did in the dim and distant past was a scenes of crime walkthrough. On this course we had a well known tracker. He’s taught thousands of trackers across the world, written books and been on TV. Anyway his attention was drawn to a leaf that had been moved – it was lying the wrong way up.

With all his attention on this leaf he completely missed the bloody knife that lay just half a metre away in plain view. And so it is with our attention. We just cannot expect to take everything in.

So when you go out for a walk in the woods concentrate on one specific topic.

It might be naming the different trees you see.

You might like to explore the different fungi.

Or maybe you might look at what other plants you can find.

You could look out for animal tracks and signs.

Or you could listen and spot the different birds.

Alternatively you could just look at yourself. Examine how you change as you walk through the woods. What do you feel? What do you smell and does that have an effect on you? What memories do woods bring?

For those of you who are already teachers, think of how you could use either the environment or the resources you can find in the wood to help support teaching.

What maths can you do in a wood?
What stories could be inspired here?
How much science could be taught in the woods?
What activities could you do to support Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning?

Whether you are a teacher already or not whilst you are out and about in the woods why not look for resources to make things.

Start being creative. Fire your imagination.

Or you could just enjoy your last few walks in the woods before you do start doing all of the above and much more automatically after you’ve started your course?

And welcome to the wonderful world of Forest School Leadership.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *