Meet Vikki & Chris Silverwood and their children Mari & Ezra. Vikki and Chris are the award winning founders of Børn of the Forest who have been the tenants of Old Gates Wood on the Rudding Estate for the last four years.
In that time they have been awarded four Harrogate Mumbler Awards for Favourite Kids Club or Holiday Camp, Favourite Class or Activity two years running and the Community Award.
So just what is it that makes the Børn of the Forest Forest School so special?
Imagine a place where children are free to explore, experiment, imagine and create. A place where they can make mud pies, jump in puddles, swing in trees, use tools, build dens and cook on fires. That place is Børn of the Forest, a 3.5 acre mixed broadleaf woodland on the Rudding Estate near Follifoot village, which is used exclusively by Børn of the Forest and the children that go there.
Before settling down teacher Vikki and husband Chris travelled all over the world, seeing children playing in the natural environment, making their fun from using found objects, obstacles and opportunities in the great outdoors and this was the carefree natural world that they wanted to create for their children to play and learn in, and an opportunity for all children to experience the awe and wonder of nature while building a meaningful relationship with the natural environment.
The arrival of their daughter was the impetus required to start Børn of the Forest and they now run their award winning forest school with the help of a small team of professionals, offering a wide range of sessions through out the year. These include - After School Clubs, Holidays Clubs, Preschool/Family Stay Sessions, and Birthday parties. There are also Therapeutic sessions for children and young people with additional needs and an Alternative Learning provision for those unable to access mainstream education, contracted through NYCC.
If you speak to Vikki she'll tell you how being outdoors builds confidence and resilience like nothing else. That trusting children with fire building, tree climbing and tool use gives them an immeasurable amount of confidence in their abilities and a huge sense of pride on completing a den or making a tree swing.
That Forest School is much more than an opportunity to play outside, it is a transformational approach to learning which puts the learner at the centre and allows them to grow, it enables confidence and self esteem to flourish and connects the learner to the natural world.
But don't just take Vikki's word for it, check out their website, details below, book a session and just see how your little ones will flourish in the forest!