ABOUT US - MEET THE GREENBOW TEAM
Through his personal struggles as a child bewildered by schooling, Patrick has developed a passion for alternative learning processes. For many years he has recognised the vitally important role of creativity in education, as a tool for developing flexibility in thinking, confidence and self esteem. Due to his own experience and the witnessing of others, he has developed a thorough understanding of the impact of doing, playing and deep level learning on all areas of development as a catalyst for fundamental and lasting change.
Patrick’s background is in creative expression, through painting, graphic design and environmental arts. He taught reflexive art classes for many years, and drumming and rhythm in schools and with adults with special educational needs. This has given him a grounding in awareness of how the body offers a memory of its own, independent of cognitive processes, and the reality of collective intelligence, fundamentally linked to deep level learning.
Patrick has also used the building of structures in the outdoors, primarily Celtic roundhouses, as an inspirational platform for education and holistic development. It was through this experience, initially, that he found out about Forest Schools, and subsequently trained as a Forest Schools level 3 practitioner. He then spent many years setting up and delivering Forest Schools in mid Wales.
As a full time level 4 Forest School trainer he has also trained many hundreds of teachers, independent practitioners and other professionals, to deliver Forest School programmes all over the UK.
Maria’s journey began in a multicultural English-Bulgarian-Swiss-Macedonian family. Her interest in different cultures and relationships developed very early.
After graduating with a BA Hons in European Politics and Culture with International Relations in 2001 – she pursued her interest in people and travelling, immersing herself in various cultures around the world. She then embarked on a corporate career in Marketing and International Business Development – and the stresses of the business world became only too familiar.
The turning point for her was in 2008 as Maria embraced parenting, and her reconnection with nature (inspired by her own childhood in Bulgaria) was ignited. After her son was born, she retrained as a Primary School Teacher and obtained a postgraduate degree in Education with a French specialism. In her first year of teaching, she also trained as a Forest School Leader.
Since 2010, Maria has worked in education and has extended her expertise and experience to reconnecting all – small and big, with nature! Maria has stood as Council Member of ‘The Wild Network’, backbone to the award winning documentary ‘PROJECT WILD THING’ since 2013 and continues to be involved in an Advisory and Consultancy position with many leading green initiatives locally, nationally and internationally.
In 2014 Maria worked with Patrick Harrison in setting up a Greenbow Forest School Leader Training at Ham Lands (Richmond) where over 200 new Leaders have been trained. She has extensive experience working with Nurseries, Primary and Secondary schools, Youth Centres and Universities, advising on and delivering Forest School for all ages.
Richard can be found in the woods of Europe or England and is an experienced educational professional with an enduring passion for outdoor education. He worked for many years in the classroom as a primary school teacher before swapping four walls for the magic of natural environments. Richard has a profound understanding of the theoretical and pedagogical underpinnings of Forest School, and the ways in which it can complement and work alongside mainstream education.
Along with his role as a trainer at Greenbow, Richard works as a facilitator and consultant with forest schools, charities and schools - helping develop and deliver programmes that get people of all ages back into the great outdoors.
A born Londoner, Richard has recently returned from a decade living in Catalunya, where he was influential in spreading the Forest School approach in Spain and beyond - both through the Level 3 trainings Greenbow have delivered there to the many programs he set up.
Happiest when in the open air, Richard is also a Beach School practitioner and loves scampering around rock pools and sharing the wonder of coastlines with learners.
Richard is particularly passionate about making Forest School and its many benefits accessible to marginalised and underprivileged communities. He believes deeply in the power of the outdoors to educate, nurture, inspire and heal.