Forest School is an after-school activity led by Nature Vibezzz, co-founded by professional educators Douglas Saucedo and John Cannell, based in Fern Lodge Village Hall
“We taught them to make fire and toast marshmallows – but also about being responsible and not letting fire get out of control. We’ve taught them teamwork, the younger and older ones working together. Outdoors gives children space to use their imagination. There’s no ‘I can’t do that because I live on an estate’.”
In the wild and in the garden
“Fern Lodge TRA was very keen to get children involved in starting a vegetable garden last year. At first they thought they’d need to put fences up to protect it, but the evidence shows that if everyone puts in a little bit, everyone owns it, no-one wants to break in. Now we’ve got children who, when you ask “where does food come from?” don’t answer ‘Tesco’s’ or ‘Sainsbury’s.”
Rule of the school
“I always say Forest School has only one rule, and that’s ‘listen’. It’s a skill humans need to learn to practice. And there’s another thing that’s s not a rule, but a goal – ‘try to leave it better.’ We go out with black bags to tidy up the woods .Next week, when there’s other people’s litter, the children get upset.
“Children who live in London need a special way to learn about ‘outdoors’ – and that’s what Douglas has”, says parent Helen M. “They’re not all Fern Lodge kids; some come from other schools and neighbouring estates – but they’re all socialising and singing together coming back from Forest School.”
The buzz about Vibezzz
- Nature Vibezzz run a project to return Knights Hill Woods to native woodland and get it recognized as a nature reserve – volunteers welcome
- Nature Vibezzz run regular Saturday ‘Fathers in Nature’ sessions for dads and kids to spend quality time together on practical outdoor activities like digging ponds and cutting wood.
- For more information see www.naturevibezzz.org