Practitioners must demonstrate other aspects to maintain children’s interest and excitement. These consist of skills such as confidence; embracing the outdoors and making the most of all of the resources with an enthusiastic and positive attitude.
Louv (2008) supports this point and states that:
Another key characteristic is having knowledge and recognition of the quality within the outdoor space, to proceed in providing openings which extend and expand on learning. To explain this point, when an adult is met with an environment that consists of trees, leaves and shrubs, they must be aware of the affordances and potentials of the surrounding that could enhance children’s thinking and support their development.
As a teacher of the outdoors, it is vital that the physical ability and practicality of oneself is strong. Children may notice large branches that they could utilise, or they may be interested in building a fire pit in an overgrown patch of land and as the practitioner, it is expected that those learning needs are met and supported through the use of tools, physical strength and imagination. To ensure that children are gaining valuable experiences, there must be a demonstration of good communication skills between practitioners, ensuring that each person is involved in the process, having an input into what could be carried out, which exhibits a good secure relationship in working together to aid children’s development.
Constable (2014) believes that ‘reflecting on the forest school session after it has taken place’ is the best way to identify the useful parts of the day as well as approaching aspects of the session in a critical way. This process will draw upon new plans that could be implemented next time, to gain an experience that will be more appropriate for each child and enhance their learning.
It is essential that each child’s needs are understood and supported through the use of an inclusive approach, when leading a forest school session. It must be taken into account the physical abilities of children and any disabilities that children may have, to adopt an approach that promotes equality. If this is not considered within forest schools, then this shall pose a negative outlook on the way that practitioners ensure all children are involved and included. How do you feel about the way that forest schools are taught and whether they do take on an inclusive ethos for children with disabilities?
To evaluate and conclude, this discussion is focussed on the key features for a practitioner working in the outdoor environment, approaching the skills and traits needed to provide such high quality learning experiences. Examples of these are physical strength, imagination and the process of reflecting thoroughly on previous activities, to provide new learning experiences that incorporate children's interest. The aspect of disability within forest school practices has been briefly highlighted and this is something that could be further discussed, to gain different opinions and views.