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Louis at ‘Doma v lese’!!

Louis Donnelly completed the Early Childhood Studies degree at Stranmillis in 2015. Since then he has worked in a variety of different settings - most notably and enjoyably in ‘doma v lese’ - a forest school in the Czech Republic. Louis reports on this very different experience:

“‘Doma v lese’ translates as ‘home in the forest’, which is apt as the children are very much at home in the forest! Throughout the year they spend the majority of their time outside and are suitably equipped for whatever weather they might face.

Each month the teaching staff provide a new learning theme for the children; these have included the delicious ‘forest on a plate’ - daily lessons and activities about edible items found in the forest, e.g. certain mushrooms, nuts and berries!! - and also the essential guide ‘Outdoor Survival’ - making a DIY compass and sundial, discussing essential items for different climates and more. Alongside these themes, traditional topics are not excluded, and children make the transition into primary school, also spending time learning maths, Czech and science, thus, fully preparing them for school life.

So how did I end up working in the Czech Republic? Whilst studying on the Erasmus experience offered by Stranmillis, I met my future wife - we got married last Summer! Then after graduation I joined her, able to use my ECS degree to gain employment in the Forest School.

During my studies at Stranmillis I was advised by the Head of Early Childhood Studies, Sheelagh Carville, in her module International Perspectives, that if I ever had an opportunity to visit a forest school that I should take it; I have done more than visit - I’m experiencing this work first-hand. This is a piece of advice I would pass on to anyone studying to be an early years professional.”


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