By Coach Shimin
As the regular Forest School sessions settle into our primary location at Dairy Farm Nature Park, we start to explore beyond the forest.
Even towards the later part of last year, we sometimes ventured into the shops nearby to buy water to quench our thirst when the weather gets hot, or hot milo for cold and rainy days. The children would volunteer to come along with the coach to purchase the drinks and have a chance at being ‘an adult’.
This year, we also start thinking about extending the sessions to having lunch together – where the kids can get a budget for their lunch expenses, discuss for an appropriate place to have lunch that meets everyone’s dietary needs, understand how much money is needed for their lunch, and buy their meals on their own.
This comes about as we realise the need to extend the Forest School learning beyond their comfort zone and familiar faces of the coaches and fellow Forest School kids. This also provides more opportunities for the children to discuss and decide on lunch options as a group, and to discuss budget with their parents.
Other ways to immerse the kids beyond the forest could include bringing in our local history and culture. For example, in one of our sessions, we decided to hike to Bukit Batok Nature Park. Along the way, we passed by the Former Ford Factory, and went in to take a look. It was an enriching experience, as the place has been well set up to educate both kids and adults about what happened in Singapore during WWII, and there were many videos of survivors, artefacts, maps and documents. This is something very precious to us as it forms an important part of our history and identity, and is the foundation of why our government is so insistent on our own independence and survival as a small nation. It brings in the cultural and historical element to understanding our land better, and how Singapore transformed from a sleepy village into a port, and then into the global city that we are now.
All these opportunities are natural extensions of the Forest School sessions, which we ourselves also brought in spontaneously along the way. If parents and children have other ideas, do let our coaches know so we may integrate them into the sessions!