The workshops provided by Forest School Plus inform children about our early prehistoric past in an imaginative, informative and interactive way. Children learn that the prehistory of human survival and adaptation is the story of a remarkable symbiosis with the natural world, where respect for nature and the raw materials it provides resulted in an inherent sustainability. This is an issue that modern society is only beginning to rediscover, and one which children need to engage with from an early age.
Although the hunter-gatherer strategies, botanical knowledge and tool-making skills of early prehistoric societies have been highlighted in the media, by people like Ray Mears, such aspects have not been presented to young children in a way that allows them to fully grasp how skilled and innovative prehistoric groups were. The making of shelters and huts, the creation and preservation of fire, foraging for food and medicines, making tools and weapons, and engaging in arts and crafts are just some of the important aspects of prehistoric life that are addressed in the exciting sessions provided by Forest School Plus.
In societies that were heavily dependent upon wood, and the plants and animals found in and around woodlands, archaeological findings can only provide some of the evidence that indicates what prehistoric life was like. By proxy, an understanding of the potential of woodland environments in prehistory is provided by contemporary Forest School. Consequently, the combination of Forest School and Archaeology is an ideal approach for learning and appreciating subsistence in all periods of prehistory.
Understanding and appreciating the nature of life in the prehistoric past is an essential starting point to understanding and evaluating the developments of later historic periods and the challenges of modern life. Conveying this information and facilitating learning in a natural environment, and in an experimental ecological/archaeological format, results in a compelling cross-curricular learning opportunity that is challenging, stimulating and fun.
Ian Roberts FSA MCIfA