A student currently studying the Level 3 Forest School Leaders Advanced Award at Bridgwater College was recently given the opportunity to take part in a summer of teaching at Mahanga College in Sri Lanka.
Denise Garfield, who works at Locking Primary School in Weston-super-Mare, became part of a teaching team when the primary school, which is an accredited international school, visited their linked college, Mahanga College in Sri Lanka. The visit was supported by the British Council, and this year focused on developing a respect for diversity and a lifelong interest in global issues.
Through a sustainable living project, Denise delivered Forest School activities to the students and their teachers which encouraged independent learning, working as part of a team and developing self-esteem. Denise worked with a group of Girl Guides and two year-three classes delivering sessions on using flints and cotton wool to light fires and toast marshmallows.
Other activities included using saws to cut bamboo to make dreamcatchers, and collecting natural materials to create bookmarks, crowns and hangings. A book containing photos and quotes from Locking School pupils using these skills during their Forest school sessions was presented to staff and students at Mahanga College.
The experience was unforgettable for Denise, who said,
“The trip was a huge success and enjoyed by everyone involved. The children loved collecting outside and took great care to create some amazing results. I am so passionate about my work, so to see 40 students in Saris using flint and steels reminded me why I love this vocation so much. It was a truly amazing experience. I was given the opportunity to meet some fantastic people and I had the pleasure of teaching some wonderful children. They loved the Forest School experience and I loved teaching them.”