Lynette is a trained Forest School Leader, working for Valley and Vale as Forest Arts Development Worker. Lynette is also a practising artist and has worked as a circus clown. She enjoys the physical nature of making art and performances. She has directed and choreographed outdoor and indoor performances and she set up and ran a youth circus in Sheffield. In recent years she became passionate about forest school as it brings together and allows her to pass on a her love of the natural environment and makes a special place for children and adults to learn physical, emotional and practical skills for life through fun and creative projects.
At Betws Primary School we have set up regular sessions with year three and the nurture group and held a Family Forest Arts day with more to follow. The children really love the forest arts sessions, even in sometimes unpleasant weather where we set up shelters to work under. What is really important about this kind of work is the fact that we do have regular sessions and we can come to our own special place in the outdoors and practice the things we learn and see how the world changes around us as we pass through the year. Each child seems to find something they like about forest school it might be searching and finding things, learning to use basic tools, making mud paintings, playing our warm up games and being free to move around and stretch, make a noise and learn about the different trees, tadpoles etc. There is a sense of relief and wonder when we make things out of what is there and we don’t need to go and buy stuff. Even children who are reluctant and unfamiliar with the outdoors at first start to feel comfortable and excited about the sessions. There is room for all kinds strong people, precise people, energetic people and quiet people. We have storytelling, songs, willow weaving, we make dens and shelters, learn basic knots and how to use small hand tools.
Next on the agenda is to extend the sessions and work with other local schools, offer more Family Forest Arts Days and offer sessions and training for adults so that we can make this something that is regularly available for as many children as possible. Making a small camp and day out in the woods is something families can enjoy together and yet costs as much as a picnic.
There are a growing number of forest arts and schools project in Wales and they also offer a chance to meet up a little further and learn new skills.