What a Forest School Singapore coach does?

Forest School is conducted with no curriculum, no schedule or any instructional teaching (other than safety), so what do the Coaches of the sessions do? Now, let us take a journey through the many facets of how a Forest School Singapore coach works in the context of a weekly session. 

A FSS coach is not a therapist or instructionist, he/she is a friend, a coach, a fellowship and an integral part of the community that we so cherish. A coach stays on in FSS as long as he/she is aligned with being authentic, sincere and engaged in an on-going personal growth for him/herself. 

A FSS weekly coach goes through a multitude of training at his/her own time and readiness, to ensure that he/she is confident about the FS session and the ways. 

Before a session, coaches have to get the accuracy of the session’s attendance to ensure safety in terms of Operation and Safety (We wouldn’t want any last minute surprises that take their mind away from the session’s safety). It also helps to protect the dynamics of the group in the session, and gives everyone a sense of accountability for being part of a committed community. 

Coaches will also have to attend to the concerns of families who have just joined us, and are learning the ways of the community. That is to ensure that there is an alignment between the community of the session. In a typical FSS weekly session, there can be up to 15 families. 

Sometimes, before session, coaches will also recce and check the ground to ensure the safety of the environment. Though usually this is a team effort, it encompasses various parties communicating their sightings and observations, in order to have a wider perspective of safety on our campus.

During the session, the coach’s main priority is to watch over the safety of our children. They protect the wellness of our children. 

Coaches do their best to facilitate a safe space for freedom, choice and expression while holding space for conflicts and baggage some children will come with. Coaches practice the “Hands Behind, Lips Sealed” way to give space for independence, growth and self-empowerment so that our children can thrive on their own and as a group. 

FSS coaches also get involved in the session at times, sharing their personal passion, not as an instruction or lesson plan, but as an avenue of being themselves as well. We want our coaches to have that sense of freedom and expression, for only when one is free can one then guide others to it. Many of the coaches’ passion, inspiring knowledge and craft subtly rub off on our little ones. Through these engagements, coaches also build relationships with our children and families that often goes beyond the session. All of that happens in its own time and readiness, with no expectations. It is like a natural phenomenon of connection and fate. 

Not surprisingly, coaches (being human) also make mistakes in their communication and practices at times. These are very precious to us. A person only makes mistakes because they are trying or are being vulnerable, and this is an aspect that we cherish of our coaches. They are courageously taking the steps to grow through this process and journey, just like our children. 

After the session, coaches have a whole list of things to do as well. They would sit through a debrief with the guide of an operation assessment, and this covers issue ranging from Admin, Risk, Eco-Environment, Children Behaviours and Session Dynamics. They will reflect deeply upon the growth and changes of the session. They build an awareness of the community and environment through these reviews and debriefs. If there is a serious incident, they will also have to report it. 

After the debrief, they will fill in an attendance document so that we can track and maintain the sustainability of FSS. Followed by uploading photos and videos taken in the session to a parent-sharing folder, where parents can enjoy an “experience”. They will also share a caption moment to the Marketing Communication Manager to be shared on social media, to empower the growth of the  Forest School movement. 

Outside of the session, coaches gather often for group meetings (online and offline) as a team to review and improve FSS. 

There is a huge commitment that all the FSS coaches put in for the community. On the surface, it may not seem like much, but deep down inside we all know it takes a lot of heart and spirit to be a FSS coach in the community. We absolutely love our FSS coaches, and community. It truly takes a village to raise a child, and we are glad FSS coaches are part of this village. Only because we have these teams, are we thus able to reach far beyond the stars. 

I’m glad I am able to share with you the work of an FSS coach, as I get to experience and witness the magic that they produce. We hope this will give another level of appreciation for the work of any Forest School Singapore coach and other Forest School practitioners around the world.

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