What does one say to two young people starting a business that aims to change the world? ‘Dream on’ comes to mind. And you’d be entirely correct to say so.
While KW Forest School doesn’t have global ambitions, we are part of a global movement of forest schools and other outdoor organizations that dream of creating a better world. In the world we dream of, children and adults alike have a deep understanding of what sustains us all: soil, water, air, trees, birds, animals, insects- elements of the world around us that are all too often referred to as simply ‘the environment’.
In our work with kids outdoors we’ve found again and again that coming into contact with these elements directly is a much deeper and more compelling experience than learning about them in the abstract. We can teach children about ecosystems, but how much cooler is it to crawl through the bushes and come face to face with our plant and animal neighbours? We can teach adults about energy, but how much more powerful is it to feel the energy of your own hands unleash the energy stored in wood by means of friction?
For us, learning about our immediate environment isn’t another opportunity for guilt, it’s an opportunity to get out there and have a blast. Let’s be clear about one thing: this school is about having fun. (Anything else you might learn with us is extra credit). We have knowledge to teach and skills to pass on, but at the end of the day it’s inspiration that we’re after, and a chance to plant the seeds of lifelong relationships with the natural world.
This fall is the ‘Dream On’ phase of our business. We’re thinking hard about how to bring our work into our communities, especially into those areas not traditionally thought of as ‘nature’. (Notice the brick wall behind us in the picture? A flock of very chatty sparrows nest in the ivy just above our heads, and yes, it is possible to understand what they’re saying.) We’re thinking about home school workshops, PD day sampler sessions, and visits to classrooms and schoolyards, among other ideas. In the spring we’d love to build enough momentum to host weekly after school groups, and by summertime, who knows? You may see a KW Forest School Day Camp in your neck of the woods.
In the meantime, we’re interested in starting conversations with anyone interested in getting more kids outdoors more often (and the adults who belong to those kids, too). Do you have an idea you’d like to pitch to us? Want to see KW Forest School at your child’s school, care group, or birthday party? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to dream with you.