Forest school reflective journal Essay

When we talk about adventure, the very first thing come to my mind is explore, exciting and unknown. If we are engaged in adventure, boredom and anxiety are avoided meanwhile we are actually experiencing a sense of ‘’flow “which called enjoyment(Csikszentmihalyi",1990) In short, it means to voluntarily push our limits in a venture for which the outcome is unknown. (Priest",1990) Therefore, visiting forest school so far is one of my highlight of this course. The concept of Forest School may sound unusual and unfamiliar in Hong Kong, some of us may even have a misunderstanding on it. The main idea of forest school is actually let children learning outdoor and do most of the activities they might do in a regular childcare centre or kindergarten. There were mainly two sections of our visit to the forest school. One is designed and builds our own playground. The other section is climbed across a river and collect stone. The first task might seem easier than the other one while in fact, it provides an unforgettable experience for me and I learnt a lot on it. In the begging, the staff bring us to a playground which is totally different from the playground we used to go. There aren’t any barriers nor rules. Our task in this section is using any natural materials we see and build our own playground. It sounds easy to complete. We finished the task very fast as we just simply used few wooden planks to build hopscotch. ’’Do you think children will find that it's fun?” the guide asked, and she kept encouraged us to explore around and look for more materials. Under her inspiring guide, I realised many other natural materials such as stones, leaves and even bamboo were missed. After a short discussion, my teammates and I came up with some new ideas. We imagined ourselves as a kid and thought about what will get our attention and we will be interested in. In the end, we gathered all the materials we had and built a bridge. After the visit(building our own playgroup), I found out that I have overlooked the very important point: Fun. It is essential to play. Fun is an essential element of play. Fun is a self-motivating activity that maintains player engagement by supporting interaction with other people. (Andrew, S. and Julie A. (2009)Moreover, according to Patrick Bateson, emeritus professor of ethology at the University of Cambridge, “‘play’ as used by biologists and psychologists is a broad term denoting almost any activity that is not ‘serious’ or ‘work.’ Therefore we should take fun seriously. Most of us may be stuck in the box meanwhile asking our next generation young children to think out of the box which is really ironic and sad. The latest guide of Pre-primary curriculum of Hong Kong advocating learning through play as the core and emphasis a play based learning environment for the student. While according to the Hospital Authority, the number of children among mental health patients is increasing – as high as 5 per cent annually in Hong Kong. Moreover, a study by Chinese University published in August last year found that one in three Hong Kong adults believe children should be trained to “win at the starting line” from early childhood. “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” ―( Margaret Mead",2016) As a pre-kindergarten teacher, if I provide creativity learning to children later. I should not limit my own thinking as it may also affect the children I taught. Just like the outdated concept of playgroup have to erase. In order to enhance children creativity and think more critically, we not only as a teacher but also as an adult should encourage children to try something new, we never know if we never try. So even we failed in the process, I believe we always gain something new. The principal Piaget education is to create men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done men who are creative, inventive, and discoverers. Beside worry, too much is not helping but also become barriers of creative teaching and learning. According to Hong Kong Forest Adventure school, the adults only supported the kids when they asked for help or advise. Otherwise, we had to follow the three rules: (1) Don’t say No. (2) Don’t say ‘be careful’ and (3) Don’t say ‘It’s dirty’. Hence instead of worry too much I might need to find a balance between safety and risk-taking.“Risk-taking is an essential part of children’s play. Managing that risk is the key to providing opportunities that support growth and development and keep children safe from unreasonable risk and injury. The balancing of these two is vital for our children’s health and development. (Allen and Rapee, 2005) This shortly but insightful visit gave me a good chance to reflect myself.And it may definitely help me enrich my teaching life later on. I have learnt so much and I am looking forward to sharing my new insight on my future teaching life. It has empowered me to facilitate rather than teach children within the boundaries of the school curriculum but outside the classroom. Forest School is an excellent way of providing children with time to play, explore and learn.The team have been really fun to work with and I am really admired their enthusiasm for teaching outdoor. .I am excited about forest school and will be telling everybody if the chance comes along to do the visit then take it. It is an eye-opener about yourself as well as outdoor learning. It is therapy for all, not only the children attended but also the teacher themselves. On the other hand, it also reminded me, my very beginning mind which is being able to give children time to free play, explore and take appropriate risks, stimulating all their senses. I believe that the beginning mind itself is the most accomplished mind of true enlightenment.

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