As a child I grew up playing with my brothers in the outdoors, building dens, tree houses, collecting duck eggs, feeding the horses and getting very muddy. When I had my daughter Brooke in 2015, my life changed and I had different priorities. I wanted to watch her grow, be there to see her laugh and cry, watch her crawl and walk for the first time. So, after doing my research I decided to become a childminder. I was Ofsted inspected in April 2016 and was awarding ‘Outstanding in all areas’.
In September 2016, I joined the Forest Childcare Association and started to take the children in my care on outdoor adventures. We started to explore the woodlands, visit parks. The more we spent time outdoors, the more I wanted to be out there. I care for children who are on the spectrum and this was something amazing for them.
In December 2017 I found Archimedes Earth. They have been a huge element of my life ever since. I completed my Level 1 Forest School practitioner course within a few months and was certified a few months later. I was then looking for my next adventure, as I didn’t want it to end there. I signed up for the Level 3 Forest School Practitioner course and having completed that in around eight months, I have to say, it has changed my life. I have skills I never thought I could learn, I help others even without knowing it and when you see your name being recognised, well there is not a word I can use to describe the feeling. As Roald Dahl said ‘If you do not believe in magic, then you will never find it’.
Whether I am in childminder/forest school mode, or just being a mum, I try to incorporate the outdoors into everyday activities. Forest School is not just a title, there is so much more life and magic behind it. All children thrive in the outdoors and it allows them a sense of freedom to be who they want or need to be. Playing outdoors has been said to help encounter obesity, develop muscle strength and coordination. Every child is different and they all have different needs.
I have met some inspirational people along my journey and I continue to try and be inspirational myself. I connected with Lancashire County Council and became a Lancashire Representative to help new and existing childminders in their careers. Whether this is writing articles or simply meeting and talking to childminders themselves, I have continued to encourage practitioners to take a leap outdoors.
Sarah Blackwell, the founder and CEO of Forest Schools Education, have been in contact since my journey began. She has given so much time and words and she told me twelve months ago that I would become a different person, and I have.
“If you are looking for childcare that is not just ‘care’ but someone who understands and is 250% committed then Lisa Marie is this woman. Lisa changed from a student to a professional colleague very quickly. She is exemplary in her progressive educational programme for all her children and stepped out into her love, care and compassion for parents and all those journey forwards as Forest Schools Leaders pathway” Sarah Blackwell, Founder and CEO of Forest Schools Education
The hardest part is starting the journey. The best advice I can give to other students is, when you are sat in front of your laptop or computer and you feel lost, just remember that you are not alone. There are others out there, tutors and students all with knowledge and wisdom and time of their own. One day you will be here with me, writing your blog and experiencing the magic.
I cannot wait to open my Forest School Outings in January 2019. I have called my Forest School ‘Time to Conker the Woodlands’.