Self Esteem & Emotional Intelligence

How does forest school promotes self-esteem and emotional intelligence?

In Forest School, the journey of learning creates the opportunity for children to know what and how to do something, when they don’t know how and what to do.

Children who are able to explore different ways to resolve challenges or find out answers for themselves, are the ones who have built their self-esteem and emotional intelligence to the level that gives them the foundational belief and willingness to try, and to explore.

Activities like nature trail exploration and craft making, have no definitive standard to the outcome, this gives the child an imaginative space to explore their own competency, hence building their self-confidence and trust in their own ability and thoughts. The resulting effect promotes greater self-esteem and emotional intelligence.

The interaction with fellow learners in the natural environment helps children realise the need for appropriate social interaction while still living true to one’s individual self, much like how nature has some rules of engagement which we all follow.

For example, the behaviour of animals and terrain requires us to respond to them accordingly in order to survive and continue a sustainable relationship. When we do not adhere to these rules of engagement, we get into trouble.

However, among these rules of engagement, we can still be ourselves in our day-to-day life, because nature never decides who we are.

Group interaction through Forest School philosophy, gives space for the self-emotion to be accepted and acknowledged.

For example when we make a decision on what to learn and play for the session, it has to be agreed by everyone, and everyone gets to chime in on their own perspective. This will allow for the individual perspectives to be heard, and children will learn to accept and convince others, not overpower them with majority influence or brute aggression.

These elements put together promote greater emotional intelligence in every child. They can empathise with their friends, and put themselves in others’ shoes. The process is subtle, not obvious to us.

Coach Darren’s Note

Children’s increase in EQ and self-esteem are seldom seen in the early years, it is in the later stage during our adulthood that all these become prevalent.

The child who has low self-esteem, would be the manager that ensures no one can be better than him/her. The child who has high self-esteem, would be the mechanic that goes out of the way, to make sure he provides top service to his customer.

Never underestimate the effects and learning of the early years. We may be in line to prevent a catastrophe and definitely gave the foundation for many champions from what we do in Forest School and Early Years Education.

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