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About Us

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That concentration 👌 _#tools #realtools #riskawareness #reallearning #eyfs #purposefullea

Sian- Facilitator at Little Forest Feet

My Story

I knew pretty early on that I wanted a career involving working with children... (I had spent most of my childhood telling me Grandad I was going to have 500 children, which as I got older each year the number went down somewhat!) so I was confident when school ended that I was headed on the path of becoming a Primary School teacher. 

During my training, I got the opportunity to teach in a small village called Soma in The Gambia. This was an invaluable experience, an opportunity to see how powerful having a strong community is; the coming together of households, the evenings spent coming together to sing, how resourceful teachers were and how the children were fully immersed in their play with everyday objects; things they had made or found- bike tyres, milk bottles tied to string, old footballs, natural resources. The school had a message on the wall which has really stuck with me 'Try and leave this world a little better than you find it.'

During my last year of University I volunteered at a Forest School Kindergarten with a Danish teacher. I was blown away by the confidence, independence, imagination and development of the young children that attended. I was inspired by the teacher and that placement sparked something inside me. 

Once I qualified I moved to East London to teach in the Early Years in an amazing three form entry Primary School with a focus on confidence, creativity and care. It was a very multi-cultural school in an area where many of the children came from low socio-economic backgrounds and there was a huge range of special educational needs in the classes. I learnt a great deal about different cultures, strategies for working with children with challenging or special educational needs, how to work well with parents/carers to best support the holistic development of the child and provide parent/carers with support also. I was an advocate for the importance of the children needing to learn through play, following their interests and being given opportunities to be outside and exposed to real life experiences. I loved my time teaching here and learnt so much that I still bring into my practice today however after a few years I started learning more about Forest School and thinking about all the ways it would benefit the children in our school and my headteacher luckily agreed for me to do the training. 

It took a year of part time study and I have never looked back. I stayed at the school and started taking Forest School groups; first early years, then year 1, then with a group of children all with varying special educational needs. The impact Forest School had on the children blew me away;

-a child who had been selective mute in childcare for 2 years spoke after 2 Forest School sessions,

-a child whose behaviour in the classroom was quite aggressive and challenging became the Forest School leader minibeast guardian- showing others how to care for the wildlife and then in turn becoming kind and gentle back in the classroom

-children with Autism overcoming sensory difficulties enabling them to join their peers in getting muddy and wet, improve their communication and team working skills

-children who were labelled 'low achievers' in school absolutely brimming with confidence and ideas at Forest School and truly thriving

-watching children who didn't have the opportunity to be free, take risks and play at home find absolute joy in the natural world and the opportunity to be free, get muddy, pick up leaves and use tools themselves...

so so many magical moments, the more Forest School sessions I taught, the harder I found going back to teach in the classroom, so in 2017, I left that school, left London and started up Little Forest Feet UK.

Little Forest Feet began with a Forest School home daycare (childminders) which I ran with my mum. We only had 3 children to begin with but by the end of my time running it we had a wait list of over 20 children. In that time I focused a lot on self development and attended lots of courses to further my practice, including a Kids Yoga course so I could incorporate that focus on movement and wellbeing into my offerings. We also ran Forest School sessions for schools, birthday parties, parent/carer nature playgroups and Forest School holiday camps. We were about to open a forest school nursery in 2019 when I came to New Zealand for a holiday and met Adam.. 

Fast forward to now, we are living in the Bay of Plenty, NZ and are so grateful to have two awesome children and two pooches to call our family. What a wonderful, exhausting, absolutely magical journey parenthood is.

We hope that Little Forest Feet will create a space where parents/carers and children can come together, learn together and support each other, a 'parenting village.' Make meaningful connections, find joy and nourishment in being in nature, where children can explore and learn through nature, lead their own learning, take risks and play as children should.

 

We hope over time Little Forest Feet can support families right from baby bump to school age, collaborating with others with like minds for offerings to support the needs and interests of children and families in the area. 

Qualifications; BA (Hons) Primary Education with an Early Years Specialism Degree with Qualified Teacher Status (2012)

Level 3 Forest School Leader Qualification (2016)

Kids Yoga qualification with Rainbow Yoga (2017)

Some other professional development courses on; working with children with Autism,  Positive Handling, Maths in the Early Years, Bushcraft, Wild Pottery, Fire Building, Foraging, Storytelling and Puppets in the woods.....

 

 

 

 

Adam- a helping hand at Little Forest Feet

Adam is from New Zealand and works primarily in horticulture in the Bay of Plenty and is passionate about growing food organically, working with nature, not against it. We have just planted a banana orchard and are excited to see how that develops.  Adam trained in Zoology but originally wanted to be a secondary school teacher.  

His first experience of Forest School was when he began volunteering at the Little Forest Feet sessions in summer 2019 in the UK. His caring nature paired with his creativity, adventurous spirit  and joyousness made him an invaluable part of the team. He built fantastic relationships with the children and many of them asked after him on days he wasn't there. 

Since becoming a parent, Adam's natural way with children shines through. He is always coming up with funny games, imaginative stories in play and has lots of patience. He is passionate about providing our son with the opportunity to explore the natural world and supporting him with fostering awareness to take risks in a safe way. 

Adam will be helping with the running of the playgroup sessions and is also a huge help with the maintenance of our site. Although not yet an established woodland, we have been busily planting trees and plants, clearing huge piles of logs and cleaning up fallen branches/limbs. 

'I was amazed at how the children's independence  and resilience grew at the Little Forest Feet sessions. They were given opportunities to problem solve, think creatively and build confidence in their own capabilities. These are skills I want to equip our son with and hopefully other children, so they can navigate and overcome challenges that will present in their lives in the future.' (Adam)

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When you let the kids loose with the face paints...jpe
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Little Forest Feet is run by our little family. 
Here we are in the original Little Forest Feet site in the UK where many happy days were spent with children and their families. 

 

We are so excited about bringing Little Forest Feet to the Bay of Plenty, NZ.
 

From our little family to yours, we hope to see you under the trees soon. Adam, Sian, Toddler H, Baby A and  Carly and Pepper         x

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