Beautifully written and illustrated with clear photographic instructions throughout, Naomi Walmsley and Dan Westall have brought together all of the key elements of forest school into an accessible and easy read. The book encompasses all that is needed to lead successful sessions across the primary age range and beyond, with its abundance of natural crafts, bushcraft skills and games, as well as wild cooking. Each chapter and activity is clearly laid out with a number of pictures for reference – particularly useful within the knots tutorials! The book is a valuable companion to any forest school leader, acting as both a reminder of activities, inspiration and also as a book to share with the children to allow them to choose the activities that they would like to explore further.
Naomi and Dan have qualifications in survival, bushcraft and Forest School and spent 5 months on a Stone Age immersion experience in America where they foraged for, caught and cooked their own food; made their own clothing from animal hides; and crafted their own tools from bones and wood. Throughout the book there are anecdotes from their experience which both adds interest and provides an opportunity to discuss how others lived years ago.
The book not only covers different skills used within forest school – such as knots, using tools and cooking– but also gives a number of different games and activities which can be used within sessions for different groups, such as making a bird feeder, making charcoal and leaf bashing.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in forest school or who works with children outside. This book is just perfect for taking into the woods and sharing together.
Reviewed by Kaleigh Atkinson
Forest School Adventure: Outdoor Skills and Play for Children
Naomi Walmsley & Dan Westall, 2018
Published by Guild of Master Craftsmen (GMC) Publications.
ISBN 9781784944032 (pbk)