AFSA’s first regional meeting for SE QLD was hosted by Birdwings Forest School on their site in Guanaba. With glorious weather we gathered for morning tea and cuppas under the shady trees and shared stories of our beginning and entry into nature immersion and forest school practice. All these stories were deeply moving and connected with a similar thread of “we saw the benefits of nature immersion for children and we NEEDED to find a way to make it happen”.
This process of connection was really beautiful, bring our similar (yet different!) programs together with the common thread of intention to create a space where children can grow and benefit from the gifts of regular nature immersion. In addition to this we discussed the issues we faced in regular early childhood settings that are over regulated, making nature immersion and forest school practices a desired, but difficult reality.
The staff of Birdwings Forest School took us on a guided walk over the property they use for their kindy. We visited all the places the children play and talked as we walked. We had a sit spot by the dam, shared what we noticed together, and of course this lead on to more philosophical discussions to connect us and inspire our purpose.
Back at Base Camp a fire was lit, vegetable soup was cooked and spent the afternoon exploring the craft of wet felt-making. We made the cutest little caterpillars and butterflies from wool, which we can now use for our storytelling in our own programs.
While we worked on our craft we continued talking (of course!) about how to make connections with local members of parliament and council representatives. Birdwings Forest School recently invited local MP. Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education Angie Bell to observe their program and witness the benefits of forest school programs in early childhood programs.
AFSA encourages all members to make connections with local representatives, community organisations and local events. The more we can get our message out there, the better. AFSA wants to make effective change for children and this is a great, grass-roots beginning.
The best thing about this meeting was connecting with like minds who work in programs we’ve admired for so long! It’s been so wonderful to build our ‘tribe’, to find the people who share a commitment and vision for Australian children to grow up with the benefit of a natural childhood.
Birdwings Forest School Co-Director