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Building Confidence at Canopy Forest School

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

The word confidence comes from a Latin word “fidere” which means “to trust” consequently having self-confidence means having trust in oneself. Confidence helps us feel ready for life's experiences. When we are confident, we are more likely to move forward and if we experience a knock back, we will try again.

Confidence is not an innate fixed characteristic. It is an ability that can be built and improved over time. Being confident means knowing that you can handle the emotional outcomes of whatever you will face. Building confidence is a process based on managing an individual’s environment, anxieties, and stressors. Being confident is a skill set which is based around acknowledging emotions, including difficult ones, rather than avoiding them. It is about having the courage to accept imperfections, being able to speak up for ourselves, limiting our own self-criticism and building our emotional strength.

Self-confidence like any skill needs to be practiced and repeated. This involves learning how to be persistent, teaching strategies to stop negative self-talk and replacing them with positive affirmations. It also involves exposing ourselves to situations that we fear, teaching our brains that nothing bad will happen and that we can handle it.

Forest schools offer a unique educational curriculum which through observations and long-term relationships, the practitioner helps students to build and develop their confidence and trust in themselves. Learning to challenge and step outside of personal comfort zones is a big part of this and students slowly learn to take guided, controlled risks. When you step outside your comfort zone you find yourself in a place where magic happens.

"If you want to feel secure

Do what you already know how to do

But if you want to grow......

Go to the cutting edge of your competence.

Which means a temporary loss of security.

So, whenever you don't quite know

What you are doing

Know that you are growing"

(Viscott 2003)

Although it is easy and cosy to stay inside our comfort zones we have to leave it to get to know the unknown and explore our "learning zone" which lies just outside. It is only in this learning zone that we can grow and learn, make new discoveries and slowly expand what we feel comfortable with.

I stepped outside of my comfort zone when I signed up to do my level 3 Forest School Leader course. This is something that I had always dreamt of doing. It has not been easy but it has been unbelievably rewarding. I feel privileged and proud to be able to share all that I have learnt on this journey and guide others in finding their own "trust in themselves".

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