From Dacres Wood to Pinewood

A parent’s reflection on our first day trip

The moment I heard the group had voted to go visit Pinewood on a day the   wonderful Forest Families community meets I felt very excited and moved. For those who don’t know much about Forest Families, it is a learning community of adults and children who meet every Thursday in a beautiful little woodland in Croydon. Our family has been incredibly lucky to be part of this group since it started and we feel a very strong connection to the people and the space. At Forest Families children are free to play in nature, adults and children can help with preparing food, making the communal fire, learning general bushcraft skills, woodcraft, etc.  I thought this would be a great space for our children at Free We Grow at Dacres Wood, Rowan and Sally to visit.

On the day, there were so many highlights and special moments for me from our journey to Pinewood from Dacres Wood to the time we spent together on site.  At the beginning of the day I felt very welcomed and honoured to have been invited to the morning meeting. Watching the children participate in the planning of their trip was very eye opening. The children were so capable in making important contributions and decisions as a group and very importantly all had a voice. Once we got out to get our bus it was wonderful to hear their stories, impressions of the things they had seen, etc.  They were extremely helpful with each other and the adults in the group.  I enjoyed observing their interactions, hearing their observations and to watch how excited they were about this new journey and space.  I felt the bus journey went by so quickly and I think it is because we were having a good time.

Pinewood is a very familiar setting for my son and myself. I have been very fortunate to watch many children play in this space for almost three years on a weekly basis.  It was evident to me that the children in our group are at ease in a natural space. Our group started out with some familiar games (stuck in the mud, etc.) and some of the children at Forest Families joined in; but soon enough everyone found something which took their interest be it exploring the woods and the lake, helping out with the fire, chopping wood independently with the tools and making new friends.  To me it felt as if our children, Rowan and Sally have always been part of the Forest Families community and we were all enjoying another Thursday together in Pinewood. I hope that the group will consider again visiting the community and space as I know that they are always welcomed to come back.

María R. (Parent)

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