The weather was both humid and hot, yet also having wet showers at times. In the regular weekly sessions, the kids went everywhere in the Dairy Farm area. They visited their favourite areas at the water quarry, Wallace Education Centre, Green Corridor, etc. Sometimes being able to hang out at somewhere familiar means that they focus less on the place itself, and more on the bonding within the group. Unlike adults, children need not justify their venue choices by feeling like they have to ‘do something different or more challenging’ each time. They are perfectly happy to linger and connect in the present moment, with one another or in their own space at times. They follow their instincts, and it’s an awareness that perhaps adults have forgotten in their ambitions to do too much all the time.
A favourite is the playground. When left free to their own devices, the kids feel unrestricted and invent their own games and share what they learn in other activities. And it all takes place so seamlessly that you wonder how they planned it to be so – but it’s exactly so unplanned that it flows perfectly nicely along. They need not ‘play’ or ‘learn’ according to adults’ wishes, but take their own initiative and inclinations to suggest and participate in one another’s activities. This is a natural boldness, of doing what feels right to them.
The new Sunday kids love exploring, as evident from their gung-ho spirit in venturing along the hot Green Corridor and veering off-path up slopes and different terrain. The newness of the group and the sessions has a natural sense of freshness – something that we feel inspired by once again and view our sessions through their more vibrant lens.
Wallace Education Centre might seem like a bore or simply a ‘museum of facts’ to many of us. But for kids, the appeal mainly lies in the huge, immense space that they can run around in and play all sorts of games in the well-lit, natural light and cosy indoor venue. It’s quite rare that the children actually look at all the historical charts and timelines put up all around the centre – kids connect more instinctively with the energy spaciousness and vibe of the place. Usually rope play happens, and the kids comfortably lounge around at their own ease in small groups.
The best thing about Forest School? Forming natural bonds with fellow kids and coaches, as we share our snacks, chat merrily about anything and everything under the sun, and huddle at the end for our session debrief whereby we can be frank and voice our opinions. What kids remember would not be the specific activities or places that they have been to or done, but they certainly take to heart the long-lasting feelings of authentic friendship and bonding. That is the whole point, isn’t it?
Forest School Singapore