Testimonials from Our Parents
(Updated in NOV 2022)
Testimonials from Our Parents (Updated in NOV 2022)
Maureen, Mother of Matthew Kwok (Bulbul, 2021- 2022)
Forest School has been an absolute blessing for our then 6 year old since moving back to Singapore – it provides a space in which he is allowed to truly grow into his own person whilst making autonomous decisions, realising consequences, all whilst being a child through and through. Coaches Sin Yee and ET provided for a welcoming environment in which friendships were forged and boundaries tested. Muddy memories of adventuring in Dairy Farm will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Alvin, Father of Zachary (Sparrow, 2019 – 2022)
Last Saturday, 28th May 2022, marked the final session at Forest School for my son, Zachary Song, having first experienced Nature’s delight during a one-day holiday programme in Dec 2019. You see, Zachary loves the comfort of his home, is abit of a dreamer, and possess a strong aversion to risk taking. Sports activities such as swimming and football did not resonate with him given the inherent competitive and risk-taking expectations.
Hence, I thought a self-paced, nature-based outdoor activity would be helpful in balancing out his homely inclinations. I wanted Zachary to be able to spend time in nature, to be with forested elements, to be able to be his own in a non-urban, safe exploratory environment, where rules serve as guide ropes and coaches allow each kid to develop his/her personal journey and to gain an appreciation of that experience.
It was with delight that we found out about the Forest School programme. We signed Zachary up for the one-day holiday programme in December 2019. It turned out to be an absolutely mind-blowing experience for Zachary. It was raining heavily, the kids were soaked in rain and mud, but he was “free”.
There is something special about kids being able to play unhindered in the rain, without a care in the world. The parents were not there, so there wasn’t a constant narration of well-meaning instructions designed to bring each child back into the realm of risk aversion. Clearly, Zachary was elated with that experience.
It was the start of a transformative journey for Zachary. The Forest School experience was instrumental in his growing up through upper primary years. There was much to play and learn amongst the woods and the greens. He got more confident, was more willing to take more risks, and his social and environmental awareness has developed well.
Much credit goes to his marvelous Coaches, without whom, these delightful experiences would not have been possible. It is always challenging having to coach a group of kids in open play with public space. Their passion, dedication, and desire for the kids to develop through the Forest School experiential journey sets this breed of Coaches apart.
A special call out to Coaches Huda, Zi Yun and Huan Ting. Zachary have been with Coach Huda since the 2019 holiday programme, and he has benefited so much from his time with her. Thank you for starting him out on a good path. Coach Zi Yun was also coaching Zachary for some time. We thank him for your patience, guidance and ensuring road safety for kids in their journey. Zachary calls Coach Huan Ting “the honest one”. We appreciate her thoughtful coaching and sharing of insights on Zachary.
To close off, we wish you the very best and hope that the Forest School can continue with its good work in facilitating essential immersive learning in a natural environment for kids here in Singapore. Well Done and Take Care!
Mariel, Mother of Maia (2017 – 2022)
Maia has been with FSS since she was 5 and her confidence outdoors and appreciation of all things (nature, people, etc.) and their uniqueness has grown over the years. She has also become more resilient, tolerant, and independent.
We joined FSS because it provided Maia the freedom to learn about nature and her role in it and to see the world around her with an unbiased lens. The unstructured nature of the sessions, within the safety of the boundaries set, developed in her the ability to self-regulate, lead and share her space with others. It continues to do so.
Our girl went from crying because the climb was too tough, to cheering her friends on to overcome the same obstacles.
Weishun, Mother of John Luke & Ethan Mark (2021 – now)
Among the many enrichment programmes, my children have attended, FS programmes remain the only one I recommend without reservation to every parent I encounter. The programmes not only provide for a child’s holistic development; the child-centred philosophy means each child grows at his or her own pace and way.
Initially, I was concerned about whether Ethan Mark could keep up with the Bulbul senior class, and would question John Luke (his elder brother) if he was watching over and helping him every week. In hindsight, Ethan Mark wasn’t John Luke’s burden to bear. As much as they are brothers, I am thankful the coaches encouraged Ethan Mark to be independent and they each have found their own pace and friends in the group.
Practically every week, John Luke would think about what he would want to do and possibly bring a tool to the next FS session. He has brought his Swiss Army knife a few times and shown much eagerness with regards to skills involving camp craft.
We are grateful for the safe environment provided for Ethan Mark to grow in gross motor skills and sensory exploration. He especially enjoys getting wet and dirty, and can even be oblivious to insects crawling over him, but is learning to be more aware of his environment.
Terence, Father of Thaddy, Aloise & Tobias (2016 – now)
“My wife Annabel and I have known Coach Darren for 2 years and we have entrusted him to bring our son Thaddeus, together with many of his young buddies into the forest. Living in urbanized Singapore, apart from having had to “chiong sua” in army, many people’s childhoods are not spent in the forest. No one can deny the beauty of the forest – the smell of the rain hitting the soil, the warm rays of the sun on your face, the trees that grow majestically towards the sun and the many animals scurrying by to say hello. In recent years in Singapore, there are many programmes directly linked to curriculum, including outdoor class field trips to the many gardens all around Singapore or the different pathways and nature reserves. But here is where Forest School Singapore (FSS) is different.
The Forest School Approach strives for something more, a lasting relationship with nature.. In FSS case, this means repeated revisits to the Boulder Park or the Water Stream. The reason in constantly going to similar locations is the hope the children and the adults who accompany them, will form a relationship with and connection to the land. This doesn’t happen overnight. Every new trip to these spaces brings new experiences, some experiences fresh and brand new, others a reinforcement of a previous day. I fondly remember my 4 year old Son recalling animatedly different walks in the Water stream. Some days it’s dry and arid and he traipses through the stream looking proudly at the tall trees on a sunny day; while on rainier days with huge downpours, the stream is filled knee deep and he recollects trudging through it, carefully watching his steps while gently caressing the vines, roots and stems of the trees and foliage. ” It is a delight when any child says, “Wow, how hard it was to climb that tree last week.” And “Hey, it’s so much easier now.” The lay of the land is the same, yet it is different.
When a relationship and affinity is forged with our natural environment, wouldn’t it be inspiring to be able to hear people in our community say at the start of a new day, “wow I can’t wait to be back tomorrow in the same environment but relieving new experiences”. The forest now isn’t just a place where the wild distant trees go. It is the children’s play land. They have a relationship with it.
At the start of every FSS day, Coaches respectfully lets the children decide unanimously on the itinerary for the day, not pushy but patiently waiting and letting the children make their choice, the choice that will set the ebb and flow of the day’s course. The children decide and it is a natural and equitable alliance formed between children and adults, nature and humans.
To these children, the land is no longer just a casual walk in the park and they will treat the flora and fauna with respect. The forest is their home away from home, their enclave and safe refuge. They chose and that’s why it will matter to them.”
Brigette, Mother of Elliot (2019 – 2020)
I chanced upon Forest School and I have always been more inclined towards child-led learning. When we first signed up for the Family Walk to let our son have a glimpse of how the forest could be like, my husband and I were very surprised that he took to the nature so readily. At 4 years plus that time, he was hardly an outdoor person. He dreaded the sun and was pretty sensitive to dirt, mud or anything that could possibly made him uncomfortable. He told us that he would want to attend the weekly drop off sessions after the Family Walk. The rest was history. That was a year ago.
We could see significant changes in our son in terms of his willingness to take on challenges, his agility and his initial discomfort of dirt and mud was completely gone! Our son is not an extroverted person by nature. The concept of child-led exploration upheld by the Forest coaches allowed him to explore nature, attempt rough and difficult terrains and learn how to manage social interactions with his fellow forest friends at his own pace actually allowed him to develop and grow in confidence and resilience. I particularly appreciate how the coaches would trust the kids to handle sharp equipment through guidance and my Son swelled with pride when he told me how he used a knife all by himself during the session to cut ropes and twigs to build a DIY raft or a DIY Tic-Tac-Toe game.
He enjoys the sessions as it comes with the freedom of having no anxious parents around to caution him or tell him to watch out for this and that. Having that autonomy at such young age really allows him to learn independence and be more aware of the surroundings and safety. Of course, parents really need to be able to “let go” and trust their kids as the forest and nature can be unpredictable in its ways. My son has come back with injuries several times and yet each time, he has never whined or shunnedthe forest as each injury allowed him to learn to be more careful the next time.
His love for outdoors and the nature has inspired our family to take on a healthier lifestyle of bringing the kids to cycle, skate scoot or rollerblade in the Parks during weekends instead of going to the Malls all the time.
Thanks, Forest School Singapore!
Charles, Father of Louis (Sunbear, 2016 – 2019)
“We want to say how valuable this program is for my Son, Louis. He has been going to Forest school since last year and we see tremendous growth in him in the love of nature and park. Some people say we can’t protect what we don’t know. Our government has been driving initiatives about being Green and protect the earth. We believe the first step for us is to introduce nature to our kids and all of us. We can’t protect the things we are not familiar. Familiarity breeds care. Care breeds Love. And it is the Love that we need in our community to save our planet earth.”
Amna, Mother of Zahir & Ali (2017 – 2020)
“My children and I have been part of this program since its beginning and it is the only educational experience we find is worth being a part of. Without a doubt Singapore is a great country and very progressive but it has almost no options available in alternate education, which is gaining popularity world over. This program is one of its kind in Singapore, a pioneer project which will also greatly benefit the community at large. Children who spend time in nature are the ones who learn to respect and preserve it.”
Sheryl’s Article @ Nature Society Singapore
Title: Nature Grows the Child’s Heart, Body & Mind
Homeschooling is catching on in Singapore. One of the top pluses of diverting from a mainstream education is being able to immerse kids in nature-filled environments and activities. Sheryl Ang shares the philosophy behind this approach, and details how her three sons flourish and learn with nature as their living and breathing classroom.
By SHeryl ANG SieW SHiN
Full Article: https://adobe.ly/3Ud1Zki
Media Coverages over the Years
(Updated as of NOV 2022)
ARTICLES (2018 – 2022)
Writings & Articles
Click on title to read…
Article (2022): Outdoor Play & Forest School Programmes in Singapore
By Sassy Mama
Panel Transcript (2022): “Treasures from our Forests“
By Ethos Books
***Article (2022): “Forget enrichment classes, these kids learn life skills by climbing trees and spotting snakes”
By Stephanie Yeo (Straits Time)
Article (2022): “Making a Difference: Sustainability, innovation and creating future leaders”
By Amrop Singapore
Article (2022): 8 fun outdoor adventure schools in Singapore where kids can learn in nature
By Time Out Singapore
***Article (2022): “Why some Asian schools are going wild”
By Chermaine Lee (BBC)
Article (2022): “Good News admist Climate Emergency”
By Currently Weather Services
IG Post (2022): “Let your children be in touch with Mother Nature”
***Article (2021): “Our goal is for Forest School to be obsolete,” says the founder of Singapore very first Forest School
By Tesh (Bidoune)
Article (2021): “The character behind Forest School Singapore”
By David (Singapore Geographic)
Article (2020) Forest Schools In Singapore: 10 Outdoor Programmes Where Nature Is The Teacher
By Ee Jia Tan (Little Day Out)
***Article (2020): “How do we Educate in a Climate Crisis World?”
By Al Lim (Yale-NUS)
Article (2019): “Call of the Wild” in Audi Magazine
By Janice (Newbase Content)
Article (2019): “Desigining Child-Friendly High Density Neighbourhood”
By Natalia (Cities for Play)
Article (2018): Let’s Go Exploring! What Our Preschoolers Learnt Through Their Forest Trek
By MindChamps PreSchool @ Serangoon
Article (2018): Todayonline News, Alignment of Stakeholders
By Youjin (TodayOnline News)
Article-Video (2018): Todayonline News, Forest School Singapore
By Youjin (TodayOnline News)
VIDEOS (2016 – 2022)
Click on the title to watch the videos…
Video (2022): Forest School Singapore
By Melvin (OBS x FSS)
Video (2022): Dedication to Coaches
By Melvin (OBS x FSS)
Video (2022): Member of Parliament Sharing her Experience
By Rachel Ong
Video (2019): Channel 8 News, 森林学校” 提倡无拘束教学
By Aik Heng (晨光|心鲜人)
Video (2018): One-Day Project with Star StudentCare
By Rudy (Netherlands)
Video (2017): Let’s Go Project with Hampton Pre-School (TP)
By Hampton Pre-School
PODCASTS & VODCASTS (2020 – 2022)
Podcasts & Radio
Radio (2022): OUT OF THE BOX #9: FOREST SCHOOL SINGAPORE
By Juliet (BFM 89.9, Malaysia)
Radio (2022): Mediacorp CAPITAL 958 城市频道: 森林学校
By Yixin (Radio 958)
FB Live (2022): Treasure of the Forest
By Ethos Book (Singapore Heritage Fest)
Podcast (2020): A Discussion of “How do we Educate in a Climate Crisis World?“
By PJ Thum (New Naritif)
Podcast (2020): “A walk through Forest School Singapore”
By Terence Yeo (Zero to One Humans)
Radio (2020): 958小手拉大手：走进森林学校
By Yixin (Radio 958)