I learnt about Forest School during my “Introduction to Environmental Studies” module and from the article written by Lim and Khan in the book “Eating Chilli Crab in the Anthropocene”. At that point in time, my dream as I told Darren was to change the education system in Singapore and to include more elements of nature into its curriculum. Personally, I believe that Nature serves as a great medium to discuss the subjects of the sciences, arts and humanities.
During my 3-months stint in FSS, I got to witness this in the way that the coaches probe insights from the children, rather than feeding them answers. The children would then have to think independently and arrive at their own creative decisions without the burden of knowing if it is right or wrong. They would then have to be confident in their answers to share with the rest if they wish to impart their own knowledge, thereby improving their social skills and confidence. The benefits of FSS education are countless and it was a true privilege to observe them under the professionalism of the coaches.
Apart from the classes, I was also attached to different managers to understand how FSS was runned. The beauty and terror of this organisation comes from the fact that each department is only led by a few managers who work through their tasks late into the night efficiently and tirelessly. The application of FSS practice in a workplace setting really puts into perspective the benefits of this pedagogical approach. In most meetings, all managers hold an equal say in shaping the direction of each decision. As such, when external parties question certain things that the organisation does, every key stakeholder is able to form a united front in responding to the situation. The sense of trust and belonging FSS fosters is truly a unique and beautiful entity.
Overall, as a student, I learnt a lot from the people that I’ve interacted with over the past 3 months. The children taught me to be creative and confident, the coaches showed me different levels of professionalism can look like, and the managers are a good display of what commitment and dedication is like. I am grateful for this opportunity and I am excited to continue as a coach!
Written by: Yinchuan (2021)
NUS Bachelor of Environmental Science