As I reflect on this conversation later I realise that there is a deeper truth in this idea, held in the approach to learning employed in Forest School. If we look at the word 'pedagogy' it's roots hold the secret of the skill we that we try and master, the "science and art of teaching";
In Ancient Greek and Roman culture the pedagogue was the adult, often a trusted slave, whose role it was to walk with the child in the street, carrying their bags and modelling how to behave in a range of situations. He or she was not the teacher who directed the acquisition of subject knowledge. The pedagogue was literally the person who walked alongside the child to the place where they learned. Maybe one step ahead, if as much as that.
When we try and keep pace with each other, it is much easier to get into the flow of walking. I have to walk a little faster and push myself. He has to pause and take notice of little things. The dog runs in circles around us both. But we are walking together, maybe one of us is one step ahead, if as much as that.
This is the ideal that I try and strive for in my own practise and in the sharing of my knowledge. I try to walk alongside the children. Delighting in the observations they choose to share with me, encouraging them to push themselves a little. Rather than rushing ahead, leaving them to struggle on their own, expecting them to keep up.
The more I think about this the more I appreciate the woods as a place of playful learning. Where we can create the time and space so children and adults can learn alongside each other. That learning and developing ideas with people does not mean that we are making it up as we go along, that we are lazy or unprepared but rather we use our skills and expertise to stay with the learners. Maybe one step ahead. If as much as that.