With the school year coming to an end, it makes me reflect on the benefits of forest school. While there are so many important takeaways to wild play, today I've been thinking about some of the skills that prepare a child for a life beyond school.
Curiosity creates a life long learner. Someone who wants to always know more and continue to grow. This can be beneficial for so many reasons as knowledge keeps us from becoming stagnant.
Photo Caption: This two year old watches a bug as it crawls across the ground. She is curious: Where is he going? Where is his family? Is he hungry?
Creativity or divergent thinking is the ability to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible outcomes. Businesses are always looking for people who can think outside of the box to make improvements, develop new products or new methods.
Photo Caption: This three year old decides to twist pipe cleaners around a stick to make her very own unique creation.
People who are able to preserver are able to complete a task even when it becomes challenging. This is a key skill in the workforce because hard work is, well, HARD! Even though we may love what we do, we still need some perseverance to keep going when things get difficult.
Photo Caption: This three year old is determined to climb up the little dirt hill and dig for dinosaur bones. He is convinced they are there and want to dig them all up.
CONFIDENCE AND RISK ASSESSMENT
I put these two together because it's a balancing act. Everyone needs a healthy dose of confidence with a realistic concept of risk. By balancing these two concepts, we can have the self esteem to realize that we can do hard things while also knowing our realistic limits. Assessing the risk or the potential outcome and proceeding with confidence is valuable at any age.
Photo Caption: This five year old is confident in his ability to climb over this down tree with little risk of injury.
Resilience is the ability to recover after a failed attempt. May adults still struggle with this, and we must help future generations learn that failing is an essential part of learning.
Photo Caption: The three year old pictured is attempting to climb a tree. While she never made it very high, she was able to shake it off and move to another activity without being upset that she couldn't successfully climb the tree.
These six skills are practiced daily through wild free play while at forest school and will ultimately benefit our children in the future work force. These children will grow to become extraordinary at whatever career path they choose because they are curious, creative, confident and resilient while also being able to assess risks and persevere.