Listening to parents

(from Ruth Sapsed)

I joined the groups in the woods on the 19th January as I was interested to hear from the parents in particular what they had noticed about their time in the woods over the last couple of months.

Perhaps most surprising was to hear that some parents didn’t know that these woods existed:

we’ve lived in the village for 10 years and have never been here

Many commented how they had since visited the woods independently as families with their children proudly showing them round. For some parents, this stirred memories of their own childhood experiences:

I’ve enjoyed watching her develop her own wood experiences like I had when I was a child. This is her space. She bought her daddy and sister here and was very proud to share it.

I was struck by how much they felt the children had gained from these woodland experiences. They talked of feeling they had got to know the children, of watching how they had grown in confidence in their adventuring and in their friendships. A few commented how hard it had been for them at first to trust the children and allow them to lead but that they had seen how the woods provided more than enough to interest and engage the children.

But I was also touched by how openly they talked about what they had learned and how they had come to see their children differently.

out here the quiet children seem to come out of themselves, I’ve got to know lots of characters

it has opened my eyes, the more they’ve come the bigger their imagination has got….I was surprised by the scarey stories they’ve made up and how they’ve liked them. It’s like they’ve been facing their own fears

in nursery when I’ve helped, they seem to move from activity to activity but out here they work together and talk and help each other

For some parents too it had been a significant community experience:
it has helped me as much as I have helped them

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