Welcome to our first News and Nurturing.

Here we will share stories and thoughts about why we love being outside in the woods so much. The chill of Winter gives us some great opportunities to wrap up warm, follow tracks and enjoy the structural shapes of trees. We have been spotting signs of fungi doing their amazing work of breaking down organic material like dead wood and plant matter, creating new soil and fixing particles together.

I couldn’t resist sharing this photo of our youngest WTFI team member, Olive, wrapped up warm to assist with a site risk assessment.

No time to get dressed in the right clothes…the snow called!

Such joy at the first real snow in this five year old’s life.

Forest School training offers learners a wide range of opportunities for working collaboratively on  creative assignments.

Gone are the days of huge portfolios filled with essays.

The new, revised Open College Network suite of Forest School qualifications promote experiential learning where tutors and learners focus on the quality of teaching and learning.

Peer assessment and work based observations play a valuable part in supporting our learners to become confident, reflective, skilled Forest School practitioners.

“I recently took part in the Challenging Behaviour course with Sarah and Jon Cree. It was an amazing course – lots to learn and think about. The setting was brilliant and we were listened to and nurtured in an amazing way. Thank you.”

We love hearing positive feedback from course attendees. Thank you Mandy Warwick.

Wytham Woods in early Spring has the most amazing carpet of Bluebells.

Stands of hazel coppice let plenty of light in to the woodland floor where we have also found primroses, wood anemones and celandines, busily making use of the sun’s energy before the woodland canopy is in full leaf.

All these species may be Ancient Woodland indicators.

Check out the Woodland Trust website for details of ancient woodlands near you and their Big Bluebell Watch:

Meet a Tree

An old favourite of Forest School leaders and trainers.

Meet a Tree is one of many great ideas from Earth Education which became widely used by educators wanting to encourage a deeper connection with nature amongst their pupils.

We are hoping to host the founder of Earth Education, Steve Van Matre, when he visits the UK in May. His writing and environmental activism have been influencing environmental education since the early 70’s.

Follow this link for an interview with Jon Cree about the ways Earth Education and Forest School may complement one another.

I was thrilled to be involved in a tiny way with the Sylva One Oak project as part of Oxfordshire Forest School Service. Children and teachers were all invited to get to know a carefully chosen oak tree in the Blenheim estate; they measured it, drew it, listened to it, loved it through the seasons and then watched it get felled on one of the coldest days I have lived on.

Sarah Lawfull