Interview: Coach Irene

“Coach’s Interview”, is our coverage series for the people who takes the various session of Forest School Singapore. Like a little Diary of the different Forest School we have in FSS. You will get to hear the stories, motivation and visions of our lovely Coaches. For this episode we have:

Coach Irene
Forest School Singapore (2019-2021)

What really matters? A story from a new coach.

YF, a new boy and W had gotten close in this session. Both are 4 years old. Today, they spent a lot of time walking, exploring, sharing food and playing together.

Somehow, the two boys ended up at this area where construction materials were piled, just next to the children’s favourite bamboo forest. I was apprehensive at first, with the concrete blocks, heavy metal poles and a long coil of rope. Following closely, I made a quick risk assessment of the space.

While this adult was high on alert, the boys were comfortably assessing the area themselves, walking here and there, and testing the concrete slabs, looking for things which interest them.

I began to relax a little more when I saw their physical capability and awareness. I decided to trust them more and maintain a close watch.

They were communicating a lot, asking each other for help, talking about building a house with the metal poles and concrete slabs. Then the rope caught YF’s interest.  Lots of movement ensued as they were trying to pull the rope around the concrete slabs but it got stuck along the way. YF seemed to be leading in the activity, offering instructions and W was totally chill about following and enjoying himself. When W decided to change their building plan to a police station, YF was fine with it. They spent quite some time working on releasing the rope as I stood a distance away, and refrained from offering help. I saw nice collaboration among the two, lots of thinking and problem solving with so much focus.

After almost twenty minutes or more, they finally discovered the problem point, released the rope and pulled it to where they intended it to be.

The moment deepened my conviction on the importance of trust in the children and giving them the time for them to discover about themselves, their peers and the environment. This is social-emotional skills developing here, learning to work cohesively with one another.

The two friends continued attempting to move some poles to form their police station. It was time to join the rest of the group. Probably tired from all the climbing, pulling, lifting and moving around, both left the site as if mission was accomplished. They did not look back. Just moving on to meet the group, happily chit-chatting on the way. Their “police station” was not completed yet.

That’s the difference. When they are done, they are really done. Literally dropped everything.

No looking back.

The end result? It did not really matter to them. The process, the journey has been fun and rewarding.

Reflecting on being one who has more life experiences, I left often with much attachment to a task, a responsibility, the people, or a place. So easily, the result becomes the main source of happiness, rather than the journey.

The children, my teachers of life. Thank you.

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