Based on the values of Forest school, what is one practice that parents can do at home? Something that's not so difficult but that can be done on a regular basis that you think will be very useful. Something that if you could get all the parents in Singapore to do, you'll be very happy.
I would tell parents choice, giving our young learners the ability to make a choice. It can be between A or B, can be between A,B, and C or it can be between a whole infinite range of options. But just the empowerment that I get to make a choice and make a decision and live with a decision. That, I think, gives the learners straight away a sense of ownership of themselves. That I can take ownership of myself; I'm accountable for myself. That empowerment is so different from being told, every time what to do and just following through everything. So, I will tell parents, maybe simply letting children choose simple thing as: "What do you want to eat?" I know that will be tough for a lot parents. "Oh my god, you don't eat, you only eat like fried chicken and all that kind of stuff." But maybe within certain boundaries, you know, choose between one or the other. Like on particular days, there are choosing days. So then, there's a lot of empowerment.
I would take my own personal experience, as the gauge for this. When I was younger, my mom allowed me to choose which stream, I want to go to. EM 1, EM 2, or EM 3. Singaporeans would all know the streaming of primary school. And though I was qualified for EM1, I chose the EM 2 because I knew EM1 was a pretty stressful environment to be in. And I chose not to be in a stressful environment. I chose the EM2 and be able to enjoy my childhood while learning as well. So, I was given a choice. I had to reflect and think about why I want it. And that reflection allowed me then when I was in PSLE, same thing I chose my own schools. All six schools were chosen by me. Throughout my whole life, everything, I made my own choices. Now, I'm not saying that the choices I make as a child was right all the time. But, because I made my choice, I will face the consequences of it. I'll accept the failure or the success of it as well. And I'll be able to move on with it easier than hopping on it. So, I think that was very impactful for me throughout my life until now where I started forest school.
As much as (my) parents were worried, I told them it's my choice. I know it's gonna be painful and struggle. I know that it's gonna be disappointment. I know there's going to be pitfalls and you know scraping my knees and dealing with authorities and you know issues, challenges. But I choose it because I thought about it before I chose, and I chose it. And I am willing to endure the consequences. So, if you think about it, won't we want all our kids growing up to be able to be like that? To be able to make a choice and endure it? Because we all know, as they get older, there are going to be very tough things, events coming along to their life. As parents/adults, we cannot protect them for the rest of our life. So, we hope to have that resilience, I think, giving our children choices will slowly build them.