I started my Forest School journey as a child growing up on a dairy farm in East Sussex and then camping with the brilliant charity Forest School Camps.
I spent every Whitsun and two weeks in the summer camping and having the freedom to learn by doing.
As an 18 year old I went off to do an Art foundation in Brighton and then completed a printed textile design degree in Loughborough. I found Bradgate park in my first year. I spent 4 months in Bologna in my second year. And I spent a week drawing in the rain on a beach in Abersoch in my third year.
I ended up on an Art and Design PGCE in Brighton again and gained QTS. Then taught Textiles and art and design in secondary schools. After growing two small people, I took to mothering, childminding and community volunteering for a fair few years and had another small person, to make the magic number.
When the smallest wild thing was two I went off back to work at a wonderful school and realised that my art and experience of Forest School Camps could be combined and I could get paid for it.
I moved back to the farm where I grew up and the small people had the space and freedom to be small and curious.
I retrained by gaining another post graduate qualification, EYPS, whilst working as the lead of Kindergarten. I got to go to the forest every week with two wonderful women of the woods, who thoroughly inspired and nurtured me in a whole host of ways.
I then spent another 6 years working full time as a Reception teacher and gained my level 3 Forest School practitioner qualification alongside this. And the small people grew.
Things change and I got restless being inside and so finally decided to give it all up and run away to the woods. I changed my teaching job to be nearer the not so small people and set up a Forest School program at the school.
I dipped my toe in the muddy puddle of holiday clubs and that was rather brilliant.
I’ve spent countless hours researching and nosing into what other amazing facilitators, projects and models there are out there. I’ve walked and talked in the fields and woods with my siblings and father of all farm knowledge. I’ve talked to friends, they’ve supported me and brought their small people round often to enjoy and play.
I’ve carried on camping and cooked and even led a whole camp once- which is something I always thought was just for grown ups.
I turned 40 and had a big party in the fields and my friends decorated my favourite woods with an installation of 40 lampshades. And the not so small people became teenagers and told me that now that I was 40, I was technically a grown up.
I handed in my notice for full time work and am about to continue with my brilliantly bonkers class for just two days a week after Christmas.
So now I really am running away to the woods for real. Seems a bit silly that I chose wet and cold January to do this!
I spent my Christmas eve waiting to collect my boyfriend from the airport. He lives in another country, but that’s a whole other story. I filled in forms for job applications. I had a go at designing websites. And I've written a first blog.
I’ve got a list of things to research and do in the new year. What to do first?