We sent out a survey in the summer of 2016 to retrieve valuable information about the perspective and readiness of Singapore in accepting and embracing the Forest School way. Well after many late nights of breaking down the information and analyzing sentiments, opinions, call-to-action tendency, and price tag, the results are out. We would like to share with everyone of you, and thank you for the valuable insights. We hope this can help parents, educators, nature enthusiast or anyone who is interested to run a forest school program. We are open to share the full statistics (except the personal data of the surveyed).
Demographic of those Surveyed
The definition of public in this survey report, refers to people with an average age of 28.5, within the range 18 to 50 years old, with most people being single (74%). This is representative of the opinions of parents to be in 5-7 years time, so their opinions are representative of the future educational landscape.
Have you heard about Forest School/Forest Kindergarten?
Yes (60%), No (40%)
What do you think is a Forest School?
Most of the public recognize forest school as an actual school that involves learning in/through nature. 61% of people mention “Nature”, 35% mentioned “School”, 27% mentioned “Learning”. In conclusion, most of the public understands the motive of the school and its situated environment. However, the spiritual and holistic aspect of the program is not fully comprehended. Most of the perception revolves around character, skills and adventure. Therefore, A communication and awareness content, focusing on bringing the public to comprehend the connection between nature, learning and outcome of the child personal well being will be the most important step in the next 2 years.
Would you place your child/students in a Forest School?
Yes (71%), No (39%)
Why would you place/not place you child in a Forest School?
The public would put their child/students in Forest School, mainly due to the environment (56% of ‘Yes’) and learning (47% of ‘Yes’) opportunities, which shows that their acceptance of the program from this 2 angle will be much better. The resulting action will be to put together some kind of communication to allow the public to understand about the environment (beauty of the land, safety) and learning (reflection, sentiments) in the Forest School. There are moderate amount of the reasons for admission that is rooted in emotional well being (29% of ‘Yes’) and skills (29% of ‘Yes’), these can be added into the communication. Most of the public who will not place their child in a Forest School (61% of ‘No’) does it because they are “Unsure” about the program. Some of the public (25% of ‘No’) rejects the notion of Forest School for their child on the basis of social norms such as “Worried if my child could fit into the society when he/she is older”, “I prefer a book based education”
What do you think is the stress level of children/student in school now?
90% of the public feels that stress level in school is high/very high now. These is a very powerful motivational reason for Forest School to be introduce into the educational landscape.
(PS: In many countries, the high level of stress in a child, is translated when they get older, into their tertiary education and working life. These are shown in the increased suicide rate among our young ones, internationally. There is also a increased in number of people visiting the psychiatric, and seeking help mentally, these are ground evidences from my own friends in the social work field. I really think something has to be done to reduce the stress, at least for our young ones, they should play and have fun at their age, if any learning were to happen, it should be done together in fun and most importantly where they are happy)
How much would you pay a month for a forest school for your child?
(Program stated as: 4-hour a day, 5-days a week)
This amount derives from the analysis using the “Theory of Average”, meaning this number is the most acceptable and accurate price level for Forest School in Singapore.
If you were to implement a Forest School, what would you put inside its curriculum?
38 % of the public wanted a Environment and Nature implementation in a Forest School curriculum. 21 % wanted Science, 23 % wanted Survival Skills. These are all numbers that relates to the public perception of what should be included in the Forest School program. What someone would want in a program, is what they expect to see as well, and the public is not wrong at what they will see, but there are much deeper reflection which the children will be able to bring out among the play and exploration.
How would you introduce this speciality into a outdoor learning curriculum?
In carrying out the program, most of the community will probably provide more conceptual (30%) and planning (27%) contribution than action (21%). A high percentage of people actually do not know how and where they can contribute (33%). We can look into providing platform for the public to experience and understand the Forest School and our environment more, such as Community Treks, Forest Workshop, Camps, Carnivals etc. These can help allow them to see how they can contribute, and from there we can build the forest school community, that will enhance learning and development for our children.
As a quote from the Western Uganda Kingdom in 13th-19th Century, Bunyoro.
“Omwana Takulila Nju Emoi”
“A child does not grow up only in a single home”
It takes a whole Village to raise a child
I will like to thank everyone for your contribution to help raise our children.