Here at Among The Trees, our mission is helping people experience newness through creativity, movement and the outdoors.
Among The Trees, founded by Matt Couper in 2021, is a Forest School provider, working with children aged 5-11 years.
Owner Matt is native Australian, living in the UK since 2006. Married with two children, Matt completed his PGCE Primary (PE Specialist) at Edge Hill University in 2019. He graduated with distinction in 2020. Not content with the classroom, Matt completed his Level 3 Forest School Practitioner’s award in 2021. This led to a change, wanting to work with children outdoors and Among The Trees was born.
As we expand, the team will grow, working with well qualified, experienced and enthusiastic colleagues to deliver a first class service to our learners.
I am passionate about giving our young people a memorable experience each time they step among the trees, engaging with and learning about the natural world, developing confidence and new skills, along with a chance to freely play.
I specialise in learners from the primary school age range, from 5-11 years.
Among The Trees Values
Built on an unshakeable foundation that being outdoors is better, our core values are:
Among The Trees Ethos Statement
With a prevalent indoor culture that has crept up on us over the last few generations, the need for people who are confident and comfortable spending time outdoors is critical. A conversation I had with David Harvey brought the concept of the Outdoor Citizenship [OC] to my attention. OC refers to those people in our population who are at home outside, have a care for the environment and reap the benefits of an outdoor lifestyle. These are the kinds of people I want to have a hand in developing – game changers – who have an eye on the bigger picture through making a difference in small things where they are and just love spending time outdoors all year round.
Stewardship isn’t a new concept, but one that’s possibly been lost in today’s individualistic society. I want to see young people grow to be considerate, caring people who care for their planet. Those who are intent on preserving, enjoying and managing native woodland today and into the future. I want to see these people become the norm rather than the exception.
The notion of developing the whole person is important to me and is an excellent fit with the Forest School approach. We are multi-faceted people and it is right that we should consider all aspects of our development in learning. Our mind, heart, spirit and body all need attention and development. Taking a holistic approach develops a well rounded person. Reflection is part of this process too, considering prior learning, teaching and modifying approaches and ideas that hold us back from maturation.
Well-Adjusted Free Thinkers
More than ever, we need young people (and all people) who are capable of thinking for themselves. Through exposure to Forest School, I want to see learners who mature into confident people, secure in their personhood, purpose and participation in world.
People who use common sense, seek truth, recognise passing fads and confidently express themselves.
About Forest School
Forest School is a child-centred, inspirational programme offering opportunities for holistic growth through regular sessions. Our learners develop confidence and resilience while interacting with their peers through hands on experiences and play. Play, exploration and supported risk taking occurs ideally, within a natural setting, but is not limited to a green space.
The roots of Forest School are found in the Scandinavian open air culture which is viewed as a way of life, not just an educational add on. Coming to the UK in 1993, it has grown from there, with thousands of trained practitioners both here and worldwide. Older educators and theorists who have had an impact on the Forest School movement include Froebel, Pestalozzi, McMilllan and Montessori.
Theorists who have helped shaped the training for Forest School practitioners include: Mortlock with his Zones of Risk, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Gardener’s Multiple Intelligences (SMARTS), Piaget’s Schemas and Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence.
Our Forest School sessions have creative elements, games and time for free play, allowing learners to choose and direct their own activity, in a supportive environment. Learners are able to engage with activities rich in social, physical, intellectual, communication, emotional and spiritual opportunities (SPICES).
Most importantly, tasks are broken down into small achievable steps to allow learners to experience success and work towards achieving something greater.