Testimonial from Bromley
I was very apprehensive at the beginning of the course, although I relish the outdoors; I thought the assignments may get the better of me.
From the very first day Chris reassured me that I would be fine. We were given an image of people climbing up a tree, we were asked to colour in one to show how we felt at any point of the course. I'm pleased to say at the midway point of the day I started my climb. Having the opportunity to visit a school for a chance to see how they conducted their Forest School I found very beneficial. Their session was held in the corner of the playing field, but this was not a disadvantage to them. The children made use of the log pile to create a forte, and even made log dogs which they were walking on the leads. This inspired me so much I think that sometime you tend to believe you will need to have lots of resources. The other people on the course were wonderful; I felt that we bonded very quickly. Having the opportunity to work with each of them at different points was excellent. High Elms is such an extraordinary place, I was really excited about the practical days. Who would have thought that walking through a wood looking into a mirror at the tree tops could make you feel so strange? I really enjoyed coppicing from learning what tree would benefit from coming down to the angles and how to treat the stump left behind. Then being able to take our tree into the wood to make our shelter seemed to complete a full circle. After sending off my first unit of work and getting such an encouraging email back from Chris, gave me an enormous boost of confidence. The shelter building really tested my ability to think out of the box. I can see just how much children get out of this. I have lit numerous fires in my grate at home but never in an open wood before, and certainly never with a flint. The practical skills I learnt will be invaluable, and who would have thought that I could produce a meal that people liked, a thing that has deluded me in my own kitchen for years. On my return to school Sue came to conduct my observation I was so nervous! But even though we had the maddest weather possible it went well. Sue gave me some invaluable advice, she suggested not taking any equipment over on one session to see what reaction it would have on the children. So next session I did exactly that, Imaginations and determination was all they needed. What can I say to end this essay? I have climbed that tree slowly and steadily next term I take Key stage 2 out for their and mine first Forest school session on our new site. It feels me with more excitement than apprehension. Who knows I may someday reach the top of that tree. I can only put this down to having such a remarkable tutor and her fantastic team. Thank you all for such a life changing experience.