As directors of the Forest School Association we want the FSA to stand for ‘quality Forest School for all’. I’m excited and a little bit daunted to take on the role of Chair of the FSA for the next year to lead and support the directors and staff to deliver this massive aspiration. Our work over the last 5 years has moved us closer and closer to being able to implement some key projects to bring this aspiration to reality. ‘Quality Forest School for all’ comes down to good practise and we want to celebrate good practise in Forest School delivery and training. I am proud to see that two FSA projects currently being piloted finally give the Forest School community a way to recognise what the principles of Forest School look like when they are applied well. The new ‘School and Organisational’ membership asks practitioners to reflect on how they are applying the principles in real life. As this membership type builds we will have a way of recognising and learning from some of the really interesting quality Forest School practise that is being delivered throughout the country.
For people who are about to start on their Forest School journey, choosing training is increasingly complex process. The FSA is launching a Quality Assurance Scheme for trainers. We aim to create a network of Forest School Trainers who can share with each other the ways in which they go above and beyond the baseline standard and keep improving the quality of new Forest School provision. A massive thanks goes to the Forest School Trainers, who inspire our future Forest School Practitioners and for their contribution to this scheme.
Developing these projects so they are the right ‘shape’ for the Forest School community takes time, co-operation and considerable thought. In my experience this is one of the things that the FSA does really well, yet most people don’t really get to see this side of the work. The board is a working board of volunteers, and a hard-working board at that. We are people who are all really passionate about supporting the Forest School community and using our skills to develop the FSA as an organisation for the benefit of the Forest School community and ultimately for the benefit of the children who attend Forest School.
But it’s not all structures and standards, we really enjoying planning some fun stuff too. This year’s conference will be a real highlight. We’ve found a great venue and are looking forward to catching up and sharing news with everyone who is involved in Forest school.
It’s rewarding to see the steady growth in membership over the last few years which means that the FSA is the strongest it has ever been, putting us in a good position to focus on ‘quality Forest School for all’.