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The opening of the Forest School!

News date: December 12, 2018
The opening of the Forest School!

The Trzy czte ry! foundation - the creators of the “Puszczyk” Forest School, were granted a prize of half a million złoty. Their project took first place in the Budimex jubilee program called “Change the world. 50 years of Budimex.” The official opening of the Forest School took place in Osowicze, near Białystok, on 12 December 2018. The local authorities, institutions and the President of Budimex, Dariusz Blocher, all participated in the event. It was also the symbolic finale of the celebrations connected with the 50th anniversary of the company's existence.

 

“The Forest School is consistent with the philosophy of Budimex - changing the world through innovative projects that support community development. Through its very concept - contact with nature, as well as education, the Forest School positively affects the young generations. Our employees have also been involved in the construction of the school. At Budimex we never expected to receive any gifts for the 50th anniversary; rather we wanted to give a gift to brave, young people. We will be continuing to support the development of the Forest School. I would like to congratulate the Trzy czte ry! foundation for their victory in our competition and for proving to everyone that it is possible to achieve success,” said Dariusz Blocher.

 

In May of this year, as part of the celebrations linked with its 50th birthday, Budimex announced a competition for a social initiative idea, one which could significantly improve the quality of life for the local community. Nearly 250 proposals were submitted to the company, by foundations, associations and social organizations, as well as grassroots initiatives - people who are entrepreneurial, creative and want to work for the common good. Though there were nearly 100 applications that met the criteria of the contest regulations, the jury decided that the project to create the infrastructure for the first forest school in Poland would be the most worthy winner. The number of projects submitted as part of the “Change the World. 50 years of Budimex” contest definitely exceeded our expectations, according to Cezary Łysenko, a member of the jury. It was very difficult to select the winner, but thankfully the well-defined criteria of the contest were very helpful in that task. After the final presentation of the project by its creators, we were in no doubt that it deserved the main prize. Exceptional determination, passion and commitment, as well as the great substantive and financial preparation of the project’s creators, dispelled any doubts we might have had, he added.

 

Another goal of the “Change the world. 50 years of Budimex” program was to provide substantive support for the winners at each stage of the implementation of the concept. They took part in a workshop session with experts, during which the project was thoroughly analysed in accordance with the philosophy of design thinking, and its assumptions were optimised. And so, within two and a half months, on the edge of a forest near the city of Białystok, a complex of pavilions was constructed. Together they form the field base for the school, but they are also an inspiration for all educational institutions throughout the country.

 

The “Puszczyk” Forest School changes the manner in which classes are normally conducted. It changes where the learning process occurs, from school desks to the forest, where children can feel at ease. Instead of the sound of the school bell, they hear the chirping of birds. Instead of being quizzed in front of a blackboard, they can conduct experiments in the field. Instead of sitting at a school desk, they can move freely.

 

Letting children be children, letting each and every one of them be different and giving all of them a happy childhood – this is the goal of the Trzy czte ry! foundation. At the Forest School, the children's needs are our primary concern, not results or rankings. The children are organised into different groups, depending on their interests, as well as the type of project they are working on, and not according to their date of birth. Statistically, children who attend a traditional school spend less time outside than prison inmates. The creators of the Forest School wish to change that. Most classes are conducted outside, regardless of the season. Thanks to this contact with nature, children learn about the surrounding world and gain different kinds of experience. A computer screen cannot be a substitute for that. In the outdoors, children learn to orientate themselves in the surrounding area, they learn resourcefulness and independent thinking. A child who is given the chance to develop, make decisions and solve problems in safe conditions, naturally builds a sense of self-worth. "The joy of climbing a tree, higher and higher each time, and overcoming fear is something you cannot experience while sitting at a school desk,” said Tatiana Mindewicz-Puacz, a psychotherapist and co-creator of the “Change the world. 50 years of Budimex” program.

 

“Spending a few hours outside every day is an excellent way of improving our immunity, as well as physical and mental health. This contact with nature helps to relieve stress, and it also makes us more sensitive. Our children play and learn outside, and thanks to that they are creative and interested in discovering the world. We are also pleased to see how they deal with stress and resolve conflicts in the group,” said Agnieszka Kudraszow, one of the originators of the Forest School, which has been running since September. Until now, the children had been using the facilities of the “Puszczyk” Forest Kindergarten, but this has changed thanks to the “Change the world. 50 years of Budimex” program. At the edge of Antoniuk Forest (located in the Wasilków municipality near Białystok), they have 4 glazed pavilions available. There they have all the necessary facilities and space to fully realise their passions and interests.


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