New book on Woodcraft's history

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Driven by the energy and creativity of young people, Woodcraft Folk has a rich and fascinating history. The organization has gone a long way since it was founded in 1925, adjusting and evolving throughout the years, while remaining inspired by and anchored to its core principles. In his book “Education for Social Change: The politics and pedagogy of the Woodcraft Folk in the inter-war years”, author and current Woodcraft member Rich Palser explores a segment of Woodcraft’s history in its early years, and how it put its motto “education for social change” in practice during the 1930s.

In the words of the author, the book is

“the first in-depth study of how the Woodcraft Folk, a voluntary organisation for children and young people, sought to ‘educate for social change’ in its early years. It examines how an organisation launched and built by young working class people saw its political role and how this in turn shaped their educational methods, … [and] provides a historical case study in radical approaches to education – the Woodcraft Folk’s attempt to link socialist political objectives to ideas on child development and psychology so as to theorise its own distinct approach to ‘education for social change’”.

The book is the result of a careful work of studying primary sources and Woodcraft archives, which the author was able to consult. An interesting aspect that Rich Palser explores in the book is the “influence of eugenics on the early Woodcraft Folk”, and why young people were influenced by eugenic ideas at the time. 

Rich Palser comes from a family that has been actively involved in Woodcraft Folk in the 1930s, and in his book he is able to integrate rigorous research with his own personal experience in the movement. It is thanks to books like these that the history of Woodcraft Folk is kept alive and passed on across generations, enabling us to understand how we got to where we are and move forward.

You can purchase the book by clicking on the links below: