Do we and can we Think Like Nature – we asked ourselves and every youth worker and youth leader that gathered 30 May – 6 June 2017 in England. The training course “Think Like Nature: Emotional Intelligence with Forest School” gathered 24 persons from 7 countries: United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Greece, Romania, Italy, Poland and Lithuania. We had two certified forest school teachers and two volunteers to facilitate the process.
We had Ironbridge location, where Industrial Revolution started and now we kicked the revolution of forest school methodology – we had all what it takes to dive into the concept and change the way education is done. Needless to say we also had lots of rain to disturb our training course, but eventually we have made it through with lots of happy faces and newly formed bonds with partners: Rooted (Malta), Lythian Pathfinders (Turkey), Eurohugs (Lithuania), Comitato d’Intesa (Italy), ReCreativity Social Enterprise (Hungary), La Víbria Intercultural (Spain), Romania in Transition (Romania).
Think Like Nature consisted of three parts:
- Think Like Nature: Emotional Intelligence with Forest Scool
- Think Like Nature: Sustainability with Permaculture
- Think Like Nature: Lifestyle with Alternative Sustainable Communitie
What is for you Think Like Nature? Can you Think Like Nature?
After the training course, we asked a question “What is for you Think Like Nature? Can you Think Like Nature?” and received these answers:
“the best experience fom my life”
“For me is learning from the nature and in the nature. Try to connect our souls and minds with the everything that means the nature”
“I feel more confortable with this subject and have new ideas about my job and the way I can use non formal learning and this subjects in my daily life”
“I’m trying to think like nature. I am a very nature sensitive and nature loving person. I admit that it’s often hard to think like nature when one is surrounded by so many technological devices and distractions. ”
“for me Think Like Nature is a new way to learn out of schools and in contact with nature and understanding its importance”
” For me, “Thinking Like Nature” is the ability to live together with everything, the universe. I try to “Think Like Nature”. ”
“After this unforgettable week I think I can think like nature and with nature. Amazing time with nature, exploring, disengagement of the realities. ”
“observe, understand and follow natures patterns, rythms and processes.”
“Thing Like Nature for me is to be aware of nature being next to me and taking time to look, explore, experience nature and learn from it.”
“Thinking like nature is to live with your environment in a way to make it better. ”
“YES I USE IT A LOT IN MY WORK”
“It was a great experience. During this project I learned a lot and everything was useful. Think Like Nature for me is to understand the nature and the laws of nature but not in physics side but emotional, what forest and nature means to me, can it change my view into other things. After the project I can say that I start to think like nature because now I know how to do it.”
“are you kidding? i even can kiss like nature! the whole idea and this first step of TC was just perfect! i think we were already thinking like nature, sometimes we forget it but most of the time (like this project) i personally remember it. i enjoyed and learned a lot. i am trying to thinking like nature!
“I learnt many things about nature which is a basic knowledge for well being. Now I start to think more the nature!”
“Return to what we are, nature. / It is really difficult because all the bad values that we have inside.”
“For me Think Like Nature is to some extent fundamentally becoming aware about the interconnectedness of things, that we’re not separated (from nature) and how we are part of each others environment as much as we are part of “place” and nature and to resource and learn from these perspectives in relation how we expand the thinking of ourselves, others and place. Can we think of communities like ecosystems in which all our actions and behaviour and gestures matters, makes a difference and changes everything? How do we become sensitized to ourselves, the needs of others and the environment in building more sustainable communities and futures? ”
“I think there is no other way of thinking. Regardless of what we do, we are still governed by nature. I would say yes, I can THINK LIKE NATURE.”
“It’s bringing back to our superdeveloped society values and methods related with nature that are being forgotten.”
“For me Think Like Nature means the connection with myself, with people and with the nature. After this program I feel myself more aware of the environment and also I feel I improved my social skills. “”Think like nature is a way of life, whereby one develops emotional inteligence uning and keeping nature in mind for every aspect of their and their life, in order to achieve a more environmentally conscious and sustainable world.”
Did you develop Emotional Intelligence during training course?
We also asked “Did you develop Emotional Intelligence during training course? How? How much?”
“Yes a little bit of course. By learning from the rest of participants and coordinators. Maybe with some advices, conversations or activites with them. ”
“I think I could experiment new parts of my “personal safe zone” and struggled a bit against my personal limits”
“I think this is something that I’ll be in a better position to answer later own. Development does not happen overnight but needs time to unfold. I think the blindfold activities helped me a lot, and were like balm to the soul.”
“Absolutely yes. I develop it trough the co-working activities.”
” Yes, I developed my emotional intelligence especially when there was direct contact with the ground, life and freedom.”
“My Emotional Intelligence develop more than I was expected. Self-realization, support and helping develop my growing personality. ”
“yes. could have been emphasized more through quality dialogue this aspect. ”
“Yes, I did. i don’t thing there is a way to measure how EQ development, but we did lots of activities with that. Starting from blindfold games were we had completely trust other person while being blindfolded or trying to feel how other person feels when leading him. In other activities we had to cooperate with each other, listen to others suggestions and compromise. And reflections helped to understand my own emotions and experiences”
“It developed my EQ. I learned to accept myself and to be tolerant with others. And to improve your relationship with people and environment. ”
“VERY MUCH IN USING TOOLS LEARNED FOR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE.”
“I developed my Emotional Intelligence during training course a lot. All the group and individual activities was great because I learned to show my feelings in different ways and to share my ideas with other people. At first it was quite difficult for me to trust other people but during the project we all became like a family and I felt like I could tell some people my secrets.”
“EI part of the project is a bit underfocused compared to FS part. However, thanks to Petra, Justinas, Chris, Bunesh and all the participants, i believe i improved what i have in terms of EI. Communicating by any means with anything (people, animal, nature, thing..) improves your brain, your senses etc. So, after interaction with something, you are not the same person anymore! So, there was and still there is so much emotional richness and spirituality included in each step of the activities. Thank you! ”
“I learnt about emotional intelligence and now I am more keen on this topic and plan to read more about it to develop myself more. However, I was expected to learn more about this during the training.”
“Somehow. / I like the secret friend, that make me think a lot on how I help the others. ”
“The very thing of being together with people ask us to become sensitised to ourselves and others and to evolve our self reflective abilities, self regulation ability, social skills and empathy. As it was the focus of this TC it also offered a reflective process as well as the experience during the actual course itself and the Forest School days felt like a very good “looking glass” both in action and through reflection.”
“Any new experience is a way of developing your emotional intelligence. There is no way of quantifying this.”
“It was a great opportunity to open with one another and share very deep things of us, and through expressing it and seeing it in other people you learn a lot.”
“During the training course I realized that I really miss working with people. I think because of this now I feel more opened and aware of what do I want to do after/besides university. And this is a big step forward in my life.”
“Yes. Through the forest school activities, the introduction games/activities, and the other participants. I learned a lot about and also developed EQ.”
Testimonials by Abroadship’ers
Lavinia (Romania): “Abroadship and Justinas Brikys gave me the chance to live an incredible and amazing experience, thanks to which I have met wonderful people some of whom have become good friends. I hope to be able to join in other projects with them. I want to express my gratitude for choosing me and congratulate for the high level of organization and the professionalism which made it possible to and develop all the activities with success. Thank you! :)”
Maher (Spain): “In a first place I went there to expand my knowledge about non formal education, and I think i’ve done it. Just with the activities we did to know each other, to make group, etc were useful for me. But I really learnt a lot with Chris lessons and the conversations I had with the rest of participants and coordinators about that field, non formal education. I only had worked with childs older than 11 years old and here I’ve learnt a lot about how to work with younger childs. Furthermore I’ve came back home with more than non formal education knowledge, also with a lot of different points of view in various life aspects.”
Esmeralda (Italy): “I could learnt what is Forest’s school about and how it works with kids and adults. I got in touch with different cultures and different school systems and compared it with my country system. I’ve larnt how to use non formal learning and how it works with adults.I could tested my english knowledge and improved it thanks to the group acitivities and the people of the group.I’ve learnt how to play in different acitivities group with different people.I’ve learnt how to live in a small place with many people.I’ve discovered a new cuisine and new habits. I’ve met very interesting person and now have new friends all around the world. ”
Matthieu (Malta): “I’ve attended many other training courses/youth exchanges in the past but Think Like Nature has to be my favourite. The fact that most of the programme was delivered out in the open, in nature, was stunning, and also a breath of fresh air from other trainings I’ve attended in the past that always took place indoors and inevitably led to the odd dozing-off. The blindfold activities we did were, in my opinion, balm to the soul. I think I wouldn’t have minded being blindfolded all week and being led by someone else, or vice versa. Furthermore, the extra activities we had in the evenings were fantastic. The trainers/facilitators were top-notch, and their sense of humour was a delight. The group was sweet, warm, respectful, and genuine. I enjoyed myself in their company. Thank you all for such a delightful week! ”
Dilan (Italy): “Abroadship gave me the opportunity to discover what “forest school” is and the importance of nature in developing imagination and co-working skills. In fact we did many interesting activities that helped us to cooperate and to create new things trough the use of what Nature created. I also met very special people all around Europe and learning their culture and their customs. Thank you all, and thank you Justinas for given me the opportunity to participate in this project. ”
Alice (Italy): “Beautiful Training Course “Think Like Nature. Emotional Intelligence with Forest School” that gave me the opportunity to know so many people full of positivity and motivation. There were moments not simple, but I could take it as a starting point to improve, especially thanks to Justinas’s help. This experience has been marked by professionalism and seriousness, without forcing anyone to be different from what it really is. I could discover many new things about nature. All based on respect for the environment and people.”
Karina (Lithuania): “My first project, my first emotions and expressions, MORE and MORE I want to repeat it! Exciting activities, amazing people, and perfect trainers. What else can be better? I can not find the words to express myself how I feel after it… It was the best experience in my life! Thank you so much!!! <3”
Ina (Romania): “I got valuable insight into Forest School as is practiced in UK and the potential to use/ expand to my country. Very well organized training, including the preparation before. Excellent delivery, great care for the participants. Thank you for a wonderful experience!”
Vidmantas (Lithuania): “new ideas, methods, friends and relaxation. We were learning and doing a lot during this week different games (both serious and funny), different ways of expressing your ideas and feelings. All these activities combined with amazing participants and their stories made it perfect experience. It looks like one should be tired after such intense week, but really I am not. I feel really relaxed and ready to get going forward again.”
Patricia (Hungary): “For me this project was a good opportunity to learn how to accept myself and how to be tolerant with others. It was a good way to learn how to live with nature, to make my environment better. The activities helped me to work in group and alone too. Seeing how are living others, the differences between cultures was important for me to became a more conscious person. This week spent together was very relaxing for me and gave me energy which I can use in my daily life. Thank you for all of you!”
Bhunesh (UK): “THANK YOU GREAT EXPERIENCE GREAT OPPORTUNITY LOVELY PEOPLE TRAINERS AND FACILITATORS.”
Gabriele (Lithuania): “Think Like Nature: Emotional Intelligence with Forest School was the most amazing project I’ve ever had! The best people, the nicest place and the most intenssive program. I learned a lot about forest school, other cultures, team building, to trust people, show my feelings and share my thoughts with other. I gained a lot of experience during this project while doing some activities, playing games, working in teams. Thanks for all participants and organisers for the best week in my life! And special thanks for Justinas who gave me the opportunity to be a part of the project!!!”
Serife (Turkey): “Nature happened. Spend lovely, satisfying and amazing full 6 days together. It was a well designed TC. All the participants and you, as organizers, gave us a chance to meet with you in the middle of forest and we challenged and carried ourselves in a emotionally richer places. Wish to see you soon, and congrats for your projects..”
Sindara (Spain): “What I get out for myself out of this international experience is more desire to learn about forest schools. I just get in to know how it works in england and I will like to visit some forest school for children in a normal day in the forest. I have also a great experience with all the people of different countries that I met there, they make me think on how different and similar humans are.”
Petra (UK): “I had a really invaluable experience on my first ever TC – Think Like Nature. A really rich programme really well put together and organised with lots of things to experience and be immersed in there and then – and to take home with you that keeps growing. The whole organising team and facilitators were super great and caring, always going 100 % to make sure everything was the best possible, feeding and nurturing such a great and warm environment for exchange, learning and more. I feel very grateful to have been part of this week, learnt so much from the woods and from the so many lovely and inspiring people that I met and that will keep travelling with me.. so a big thank you – this very special experience will keep resonating for a long time..”
Mihai (Romania): “Some people say I am a hater, that I am complaining all the time, criticizing anything, thinking about better ways of doing anything. Unfortunately, these 6 days I spend there, it was a hard time for me. There was barely nothing significant to criticize or argue about. Good job guys!”
Anotonio (Spain): “It has been a lovely proyect. I feel very glad to have had the chance to participate in this training course, the people and trainers were awesome and we had a chance to shared and show to each other very interesting methods and tools, but above that I have shared a very emotional experience and discovered wonderful people which will inspire me from here on.”
Anna (Hungary): “Usually after international events the participants are satisfied, but why? I think the main reason is that on these projects the participants (and the organizers as well) are part of a type. I don’t like the stereotypes but in this case it’s easier to explain myself in this way… You know… there are those kind of people who are Doing something in their lives besides those things which are expected from the society. I really like these kind of people, actually my favorite ones! And if you wanna find some of this kind, I suggest you to check out the Abroadship.org regularly!
Thanks for everything!”
Anna (Hungary): “What did I get from Abroadship? I got my first experience of an Erasmus+, and it was an amazing training course. I learned a lot, but most importantly I got to know some lovely likeminded people: participants, trainers and organisers alike, who inspired me a lot. Check out abroadship to make sure you dont miss out on some truly unique and lifechanging opportunities.”
Training course: Think Like Nature: Emotional Intelligence with Forest School
Location: Ironbridge, Coalport, UK
Dates: 30 May – 6 June 2017
Number of participants: 24
Participating countries: United Kingdom (5 participants), Lithuania (3 participants), Italy (3 participants), Hungary (3 participants), Turkey (2 participants), Malta (2 participants), Romania (3 participants), Spain (3 participants)
Think Like Nature: Emotional Intelligence with Forest School
Think Like Nature project is a long-term approach to education for children, young people, families and adults, maximising the benefits of learning with the help of nature. Whilst its roots are planted firmly in the theory of how children learn, Think Like Nature puts the learner at the heart of their learning experience. From this fundamental platform, we want to offer youth workers and subsequently children and young people the opportunity to engage with the rich natural diversity of the woodland environment to help build confidence, sensitivity, resilience and curiosity. We believe in the holistic learning process that aims to raise self-awareness and self-esteem in participants. As a result, sessions will take place in a woodland environment, where the landscape itself adds to the experience of learning. An outdoor element offers leadership and team problem solving challenges that allow to practice new behaviors in a supportive collaborative environment.
The ultimate goal of this project is to equip and inspire youth workers and youth leaders, educators, partners and other involved parties (especially communities) with a set of innovative methods and tools as part of the “Think Like Nature” framework, so that to develop competences, enhance work with target groups and further spread the non-formal methods. We want to deconstruct, reconstruct and test with the participants the framework, which is based on non-formal nature- and community- inclusive methods. This project is practical, based on real problems and needs, offerng competences and skills that are applicable and transferable in participant’s personal life and work with youth.
- Raise the awareness of youth workers on the influence and importance of nature and outdoor activities as part of the education.
- Promote a non-formal nature-inclusive education as an important way to grow emotional and social intelligence, leading to self-development and stronger community sense.
- Equip participants with the new concepts, innovative tools and methods of “Think Like Nature” framework
- Facilitate discussions and activities to find out together methods, actions and events, which can boost youth’s self-awareness, self-esteem, self-development and consequently community development with the help of nature.
- Empower youth workers and leaders to learn, share and be able to teach others on “forest school” methodologies. We expect participants to apply the learned methodologies, both theoretically and practically, in their communities at home.
- Develop participants’ competences and skills in learning systems of collaborative consumption, co-distribution, co-working, co-sharing and accompany them with practical examples when and where they can be used.
- Create a collaborative environment, where “Think Like Nature” framework will be both extensively discussed by participants, but also new projects to further deepen, develop or extend the topic be developed during and after the project.
- Meet the representatives of forest school projects in UK, find out about the context, aims and also processes of their projects and learn from their practical approaches how to apply forest schooling.
Who Should attend?
- You are above 18 years old and from one of the partner countries: UK, Romania, Spain, Lithuania, Italy, Malta, Turkey;
- You have a diverse background, which could be a source of inspiration for others;
- You are eager to gain new competences for your NGO in the field of sustainability, personal and community development with the help of non-formal method application outdoors;
- You are youth educator, worker, project leader, facilitator, trainer, NGO representative, teacher, volunteer, staff member or other multipliers, who are already involved in non-formal youth education, outdoors education, environmental and community projects, and social work.
- You want to learn “forest school” method;
- You seek to find new ways how to approach and motivate youth to be active and contribute to their community;
- You want to share experience and help others to see new perspective and opportunities in their environment;
DAY 0 (May 30): Arrival day
DAY 1 (May 31): Intro, getting to know each other, both inside and outside, teambuilding, youthpass, Pecha Kucha NGO
DAY 2 (June 1): Concept “Forest School”, introduction to the area, tools talk, intercultural sharing
DAY 3 (June 2): Building shelters, camp fire, visiting local NGO, intercultural sharing II
DAY 4 (June 3): Forest schooling I, building trust, improvisation theater
DAY 5 (June 4): Forest schooling II, free night
DAY 6 (June 5): Tribes, joint project work, open space
DAY 7 (June 6): Departure day
Methodology is a combination of:
- “learning by experience” – learning from experiencing different activities and putting them into practice;
- “learning to play, playing to learn” – connected with learning through games, from actions and playful environment;
- “media practices” – having youth as media creators.
- group dynamic processes;
- teamwork activities;
- lectures and facilitated processes;
- group simulations and demonstration tutorials;
- dynamic workshops and presentations;
- online work and assignments;
- intercultural sharings and learnings;
- learning by doing in a group setting or individual processes.
Think Like Nature Team
Project initiated by:
- Martin Harrison (UK)
- Bhunesh napal (UK)
- Adrià Sonet (Spain)
- Eva Dumitrescu (Romania)
- Edward Gabriel Moise (Romania)
- Katlier Brigi (Romania)
- Justinas Brikys (UK).
Joined the project:
- Chris Wishard (UK)
- Ionut Badica (Romania)
- Claudian Dobos (Romania)
Trainers of this TC:
- Martin Harrison (UK) – Level 3 certified Forest School leader, having written and led sessions with people from aged 3 to 18 years old. Having 5 years experience as a community officer with nature conservation charity. The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, and worked for 5 years as a Countryside Ranger in the North West of England.
- Chris Wishard (UK) – Level 4 certified Forest School leader at Urbanoutdoorlearning.com. Chris at Urban Outdoor Learning started working with young people in 1995 and has been working in the environmental sector since 2000. He has extensive experience of working with adults & children of all ages.
- Justinas Brikys (UK) – Justinas is an entrepreneur and founder of Abroadship.org, a centre of learning through mobility, which is an applicant organisation of Think Like Nature project. He is based in London, lives on a boat and enjoys alternative lifestyle. Justinas is excited to transfer his passion for outdoors in the training course
The training course will happen in Ironbridge, Coalport, UK. Find the map of the location here.
Participants will live in rooms of 4 or 5 persons.
Please find the pictures of the accommodation and surroundings at Booking.com.
How to Get There
- FROM London:
(1) use skyscanner.net to fly to Heathrow, Gatwick or Stanstead, Luton
(2) use easybus.co.uk to take a bus to London Victoria couch station – costs around £5 one way, takes 1.5 hours
(3) use nationalexpress.com to take a bus from Victoria couch station to Telford – costs around £6-8 one way, takes 4 hours,
(4) we will organize a taxi or a bus from Telford to Coalport for you to save the costs and time on traveling – cost around £5 one way, takes 30 min
- FROM Birmingham
(1) use skyscanner.net to fly to Birmingham
(2) use nationalexpress.com to take a bus to Telford – costs around £10, takes 2 hours,
(3) we will organize a taxi or a bus from Telford to Coalport for you to save the costs and time on traveling – cost around £5 one way, takes 30 min
Traveling options must be confirmed at firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the purchase of tickets.
When to Get There
Arrival Day: 30th May
Programme: 31st May – 5th June, in total 6 full days
Departure Day: 6th June, after breakfast
Allowed to stay in UK days: You are allowed to come max 4 days before the TC or leave after max 4 days after the TC, but the total amount of the days that are not part of the programme is max 4 days (so it can be 2 days before and 2 days after for instance, in total 4 days). If you decide to stay more than 4 days longer than the official programme, you will have to cover the traveling expenses yourself. During these extra days, you have to find your own accommodation and no other expenses are covered.
Practicals – What to Bring!
- Casual, warm and sports clothes for outdoor (take into consideration rainy weather) and indoor;
- Small backpack (not necessary, but very practical for the outdoor production);
- Comfortable walking shoes;
- Bring Passport, because ID cards are not accepted in UK;
- Insurance – this is critical! Please bring European Health Card and Insure in other ways;
- Recommend to open an account and bring with you Revolut card – this will save you tons on money conversions to GBP.
May/June temperature in the area ranges from 6 to 16 degrees, sushine lasts about 6 hours and of course of course of course (not so) beautiful rain is a constant friend and a mandatory discussion object in all conversations
Medicine, Allergies and Diet
If you have illness, physical limitations and/or use medicine we need to know about, please inform us. If you are vegetarian or have special diet, let us know, indicating what you can and cannot eat, so that we can arrange the suitable food.
|Lycian Pathfinders Youth Group||Turkey||Lycian.email@example.com|
|La Víbria Intercultura||Spainfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Romania in Transition||Romaniaemail@example.com|
What is next?
This is a three phase project. Next stages are:
- 16 days long training course “Think Like Nature: Sustainability with Permaculture” in Romania, 26 Aug – 10 Sep, 2017
- 7 days long training course “Lifestyle with Alternative Sustainable Communities” in Spain, 25 Sep – 2 Oct 2017
For information about practical matters, accommodation or how to get to the place, please contact Abroadship.org at firstname.lastname@example.org