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Archimedes Forest Schools Education

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Is Critical Thinking Important for the Forest Schools Practitioner Trainee?

March 18, 2015

When working on the development of children we do have a lifelong learning mission; And that is to enable children to develop strategies that will facilitate their own movement to independent thought and processing of information
Bloom is a star in my eyes and encapsulates the progress and development theory so beautifully – and we get pictures too!

CriticalThinkingBlooms-TaxonomyWhen we develop reflection strategies with children we are looking to develop their ability to think about information, knowledge, skill, experience and activity that can be stored, built upon and used as a platform for further growth, cerebral, physical, emotional, social creative and spiritual.

For the level 3 practitioner on training there is an opportunity to experience many things for the first time, this could be practical elements, or theoretical elements that go to make up the essence of excellence of learning for your children. However, more relevant to some extent at this point is how you as an individual learner will move from this knowledge through the stages of Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis and the Evaluation. On training therefore you are coming and experiencing so many things, but without the comprehension of the process, the why we do the things we do, there will be a limited application to your lives and how you develop our own practice. As this comprehension and deep rooting of the process takes place, it it then that you begin to apply it to your teaching, and the opportunities you offer to children; the Forest Schools Baseline Assessment 6 weeks, that you deliver. Now here comes the wonderful part, as you deliver you begin to analyse it – what worked, when, why, how, was is random, or was a pattern emerging in the way I did things and the way children respond. It is this that then takes you back to the beginning of the pyramid.

Critical Thinking Allows US to See a World From a Whole New Perspective
Once you have done the same things for a while and analysed those patterns and processes it is then that the process of synthesis takes place – you redesign from a strategic level and re- intertwine things, the interrelationships alter and a whole new pattern for your children. This is when the evaluation and creativity comes into play, because you can now make informed judgements and you can make balanced decisions by comparing your ideas and processes and concepts.
When you are filling in your portfolios we are looking for this evaluation, that comes from longevity of practice of immersion into the concepts, the exploration of the ideas and then designing flexible programmes that meet the needs of the children so that they can follow the same developmental route that you have just taken.
Forest Schools is a means to an end, it is to facilitate capable learners and all for independent and personal sustainability. You may be the only key to that journey. Our Forest Schools learning journey allows us to know in the present, what it is we want to offer as a gift to our children who walk with us in the woods!

Thinking Cap

 

Photos taken from : http://www.b2ttraining.com/2015/02/06/critical-thinking-whats-it-good-for-part-2/ and its a good read too

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FREEDOM 100 has arrived! – Fast Track Forest Schools Training

March 1, 2015

EarthForest Schools Education offers one of the quickest ways to Fast Track Forest Schools with your children…

FSE Freedom 100 for Business Owners Use the link here to access the full colour version

They are a perfect way to…

  • Increase place take up from parents wanting qualified Forest Schools practice at the nursery setting or school they choose for their child
  • Provide parents with the confidence that you are the best educator for their child utilising the Archimedes Forest Schools Model
  • Learn from the longest established private Forest Schools Training Provider in the UK and the rest of the world
  • Receive tutoring from expert practitioners and teacher trainers
  • Increase the learning potential of your children
  • Begin to Establish Archimedes Forest Schools Quality Mark status demonstrating your prestige and value in education (Preferential Rate – 20% discount for those on this programme)
  • Offer quality provision to transform learning and increase confidence for improved standards of learning in school
  • Increase physical as well as mental capacity, resilience and wellbeing
  • Support CPD for teachers and practitioners by investing in quality training

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YES, Confirm My Place

Is Freedom 100 Forest Schools Training Right for Your Business?

Yes, because your staff will have the knowledge, skills and information, which when you share it with your parent customers will enhance your relationship with them and enable them to envisage how you are experts in your industry – and this will have a major impact on your ability to sell your setting to parents as customers

 Here are just some of the businesses already using Forest Schools Education successfully:

  • Alphabet Nursery
  • Alfreton Nursery
  • Ashbrow Nursery
  • Back 2 Nature
  • Baskerville Special School
  • Doncaster High Melton University
  • Derbyshire County Council
  • Manor House Nursery
  • Middlewood Nature Nursery
  • Nature to Nurture
  • Reflections Nursery
  • Sheffield City Council
  • Wildlife Trusts

There are hundreds more examples just like these from every type of education, children’s service, adults, outdoors, youth development as well as colleges, schools, nursery businesses you can imagine.

Every early years, school, college or support service organisation, charity or business could and should be using Forest Schools Education, whether you sell childcare, afterschool, wraparound care services to parents or other businesses.

Why Forest Schools Education is Also Essential For New and Growing Businesses

If you have a newer nursery business or setting up your own you need to get customers fast and you need to do it in a cost effective way.

What better way to bring in new customers than to show them the finer benefits of outdoor learning and education through Forest Schools Qualified Practitioners who can give them high end and useful information and then demonstrate by make a compelling offer of the uniqueness of your setting.

 Forest Schools Education Practitioner Training – What is it and Who is it for?

Freedom 100 Forest Schools training is a 6 month programme for a maximum of 100 business owners or Practitioners wanting to work personally with Sarah Blackwell introducing the Archimedes Forest Schools Model into their businesses and settings.

It’s for any dedicated and highly motivated individual interested in adding value to children through education and learning in the Forest Schools context, increasing value to their business and rising its profile though training with experts in Forest Schools adding these life enhancing programmes to their business model.

 

Forest Schools Training has three key components:

  • Initial Training; 6 months consolidation and Portfolio Building; Final Assessment and Portfolio Submission
  • Personal Support from Sarah Blackwell. You will be able to ask Sarah any questions you have during the programme in an exclusive private online forum.
  • A 200 plus page manual packed with information and background to the Archimedes Model plus templates for designing, running and monitoring Forest Schools

 

Here is Everything You Get on Freedom 100 Fast Track Forest Schools Training…

  1. SIX Month Course

The first and last weeks of the programme are live and current in Sheffield – the next Consolidation Weeks are in your own setting developing your work, portfolio and programmes. You get full access to the exclusive Archimedes Training Forums and direct communication with Sarah Blackwell though this page

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Here’s the schedule for the Training and Certification

Training Week

5 Dates to choose from : April 7th – 10th | April 13th – 17th | April 20th – 24th | April 27th to May 1st | May 5th – 8th 

Month 1

Section One: Essential Forest Schools Training for Skills, Knowledge and Understanding

April and May

Month 1 & 2

Section Two: Research and Reading and beginning to complete the pre required areas for delivery of the Baseline Assessment Programme

MAY to AUGUST

Month 2 to 6

Section Three: Deliver your SIX Week Baseline Assessment Programme, observe and assess children’s holistic development profiles ready for their long term programme in the outdoors

 Follow UP Development Week 

August 17th – 21st | August 24th – 28th |  September 1st to 4th | September 7th – 11th 

Month 6

Section Four: Attend the Practical Development Week

August and September

Month 6

Section Five: Hand in your Level 2 or 3 Portfoliosarah

  1. Personal Support From Sarah Blackwell

As one of the 100 business owners or practitioners on the course, learners will have access to an exclusive online private FSE Training learners area where they’ll be able to ask Sarah questions during the programme, while they are starting to build their understanding of Forest Schools in your business.

This access to Sarah Blackwell is priceless. She is the world’s leading implementer of Forest Schools Education – You will be able to tap into her expertise to maximise your own personal learning and to increase the value of your setting

Here’s what you’ll be able to do in the private learners area:

  • Ask Sarah Blackwell any questions you have about Forest Schools Portfolio Completion during the course
  • Ask Sarah to look at your portfolio structures and give her input
  • Ask Sarah any aspects to support of your learning process
  • Interact with other learners on the programme

WARNING: This WILL sell out!

Because of the personal support from Sarah Blackwell, this course is strictly limited to a maximum of 100 learners supported by you as a business owners.

 Support Materials –

  1. Manual plus License to Use Forest Schools logo Trade Mark

You will be given a hard copy version of the Archimedes Forest Schools hand outs which includes countless portfolio building information.

This material has generated interest from thousands of individuals around the globe for Sarah Blackwell and comes with a license for you to use the Logo Trade Mark at your setting

This course is worth at least twice the special price we are giving it away to you for today.

(Note: Training is for Practitioners within businesses and organisations wanting to deliver Forest Schools Programmes to children and Young People and is not for those who intend to compete with Archimedes Earth by offering Forest Schools Training to learners and these businesses or individuals will not be entitled to a license to use the materials, concepts or Trade Mark.)

 

Your Investment for ‘Freedom 100 Forest Schools Training’

First, to qualify for this course you MUST be serious about adding VALUE TO YOURSELF or THE LEARNER AND TO THE BUSINESS using the Archimedes Forest Schools Model

The size and type of your business, setting, school, or organisation does not matter. You can be well established for years and decades, or a new and emerging one person business or a new start up company.

What does matter is your mindset. Because of the personal attention from Sarah Blackwell, this programme is limited to 100 participants and we only want those places taken by people who are going to take action on what we cover. You will have to return on the given dates within 6 months and have completed your Portfolio of Evidence byt the assessment date. (There is a fee for late submission of portfolios of £200 and rescheduling of Assessment incurs a £400 fee)

The full investment for the programme is £799 – but if you book now before the booking deadline of 1st April 2015, you can save up to 50%.

 

Yes Confirm My Place

Plus Receive 20% Discount on YOUR Archimedes Earth Quality Mark APPLICATION

If your setting is not currently a member of the Quality Mark Membership Group, you’ll also receive a 20% Discount on application to Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards including a 10% discount off Full price training on all future courses for the lifetime of your membership.

We are So convinced that this course will change the course of your life, we are offering a 100% money back guarantee. If, after the first day of training your learner is not satisfied you will receive your money back

This is a risk free offer to your business

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Empathy is waiting in the shadows – you have the power to release its full potential

February 27, 2015

We are learning so much about the brain and childhood and my goodness, how influential can you be on the future lives of the children you come into contact with!!!

childmsallfIt is the Environment and Nurturing of the Adult who has an ability to develop Empathy and this impacts on Epigenetic and Neurological Development of children.

This impact is unleashed in conditions of relaxation, wellbeing and appropriate levels of challenge. It grows in an environment of love, care and compassion.It is nurtured over time and space and by those in a position of power who are able to relinquish this, who are able to empower and to feed the growth though intention and understanding and care.

childrensmfStress in children releases neurone inhibiting chemicals into the brain, cortisol. It suppresses the development of emotions and empathy. Physical Survival becomes the number one unconscious consideration for the child, who becomes self motivated to remain alive and this is a primeval need. The secondary need for love or to love and care for others and the environment is secondary to the survival of self. Thus the need for the emotional centres in the brain are not required, and the chemicals inhibit them from growing. What a disaster for personality traits such as love, care, compassion and empathy.
Therefore it is reasonable to deduce that the reduction in childhood trauma, childhood abuse including emotional, sexual and physical will minimise the cortisol levels in the brain and as such enable and the increase the ability for neurological development.

Oxytocin is the chemical released in the brain as the child experiences close and nurturing relationship with mother as well as others. This Oxytocin is an essential chemical in the brain to grow emotional, empathy and social interaction, respect and a sense of self and place.
The ability for the child to develop these attributes is a right for children to experience, and as such we have a duty of care to enable this attachment to take place in all that we do

spadesmallfBecome the Empathy Farmers for the next generation, sow the seeds, tend, nurture, fertilise, support, protect, and love the children who are entrusted to your care. This takes time, it can not happen in a day or a week or six weeks. A farmer cannot grow a crop in a month, it takes different seasons and conditions for the seed to reach its potential

Children are NO different. Time and Place and Space and Opportunity and Intention.

Provide opportunities through your Forest Schools Programmes to develop attachment, opportunity, relationship, self worth, environmental relationship.

Empathy is a potentiality that is centred in the brain, this genetic part of the DNA is awaiting the environmental conditions to encourage its growth; if a child is given the support to develop through experience and continual exposure to the concepts, opportunities to develop in this area, as children grow into adults, there will be a shift in the way that these adults relate tho themselves, to others and to the world.

Peaceful Citizenship, a movement away from self inflicted harm, violence to self and others and the environment increase momentum towards ensuring of a Positive Environmental Identity and a further Sustainability can be achieved through the children who attend the programmes that you offer when you are clear about your ethos, about your relationship, about how you wish to develop your own understanding of the future.

As leaders you have to ability to nurture, to plant the seeds of change in the children, but this takes commitment and intention to do so. It means that your programmes will be long term as intended, there can not be an unleashing of the empathy gene orOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA a hard wiring of neurones to sustain its long term development over the course of a 6 week programme. Neurology does not work that way.

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The Symbiotic Relationship of Child and Woods – Are you Sustaining Both?

February 24, 2015

EIA and MP MIddlewood ExampleIf you are an educationalist and a teacher, then the chances are you love nature – or you wouldn’t be reading this site! – but loving being in nature is not always enough to ensure that we preserve, sustain, conserve and maintain the woodlands we use for education, learning, play or leisure

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Qualified Forest Schools Level 3 Practitioners have  duty of care to children, no one disputes this – how many consider the duty of care to the natural environment and what that entails

Children and Nature interrelate on a biological and cellular level

You can’t have a child growing up in isolation of the elements, the natural cycles, the trees, grass, mountains or rivers without a part of that child’s inner most being as a human losing a part of its self that is essential to life.

In the same way you can not have woodlands and wild spaces growing up in isolation of the love, care, compassion and respect of children, because nature without children will in the future be destroyed completely and habitats die.

Nature is dependant for its wellbeing and health on children and their appreciation and respect to it, as much as children need nature for their wellbeing and health

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The process of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Management Planning can only be of any substance and any relevance when we as Practitioners and Leaders understand the importance of the need for sustainability. When we understand our role in the process as conduits for learning and love of nature with our children, we can begin to put an emphasis on learning species and relationships and how the natural systems depend on each other

When we know this, we then can apply with great joy and intention the Phase One Survey EIA where we acquire the knowledge and information of the woodlands we will work in

This can then lead to the Development of the Management Plan and monitoring process. Though our Role Modelling of our care and compassion, then children can begin to imitate our love and concern and this will lead onto Environmental Identity for the future

Have a go at this simple EIA Activity as an introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment if you are unsure where to begin

Ive included an example of  EIA and MP MIddlewood Example that as a Forest Schools Leader you might find helpful when processing and completing the Environmental Impact Assessments and Management Plans for your own Forest Schools Programmes

The Management Plans can be thought of as an Action Plan for the Setting and what will be done when, where and how, and by whom. 3 Year Management Plan can look like this though you can organise it in any format that is easily readable and through which you can pass on the information to stakeholders.

 

 

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Get Children Outdoors

Forest Schools Baseline Assessments

February 17, 2015
Popcorn and sharing

Popcorn and sharing

Baseline Assessments are the initial 6 weeks of your long term Forest Schools Programme and you will deliver well planned, well prepared and well practiced

In order to run any session, especially those first 6 weeks that comprise the initial elements as part of the Baseline Assessment there are basic requirements that are needed in order to provide you with the information you require as a practitioner to assess children’s levels of development in order to provide them with the best opportunities for their life ahead.

156873_247374625423664_1235936706_nWithout this initial assessment you have no information on present levels of development in the outdoors in the recognised areas of Social, Physical, Intellectual, Communication & Language, Emotional and Spiritual. These are commonly called the areas of Holistic Development.

There are ‘normal’ ranges for children and we are not suggesting that all children are the same, but it is acknowledged that in order for children to to grow into independence and adulthood these guidelines are suitable to be used as a reference model and tool. (The handouts for Archimedes Forest Schools Education Trainees includes this information for easy reference. It includes the expected ranges of ability for babies and children up to the ages of 5 years and you can use these as your reference point during the 6 week baseline assessment evaluations)

To create your Baseline Assessment for all the areas, collate info for each child through your observations, monitor and then evaluate your findings. As a result of that report you can devise a programme to support each area of development for each child by providing resources and opportunities for the children to experience a full range of possibilities and opportunities.

This will inevitably maximise the potential for each child or learner to grow and mature appropriately giving then the best opportunity to enter into the state of the ‘Capable Learner’ to ensure ‘Personal Sustainability’

The Baseline Assessment process is essential for you as a leader and practitioner in order to find out where each of the learners starting point is at the beginning of th long term programme.

This will include what a baseline state is in terms of emotional and ‘normal’ ways of behaving for that child, regarding both neutral and positively challenging but also overly challenging situations. It includes S>P>I>C>E>S. (Social, Physical, Intellectual, Communication, Emotional and Spiritual) for that particular child. Each child is unique and each child will be different but there are ‘norms’ none the less.

  • The Observation Form provided on training will assist you in collecting the information that includes:
  1. Wellbeing Scores of 1 to 5
  2. Levels of Challenge 1 to 5
  3. Social Language
  4. Eye Contact
  5. Behaviour, positive, neutral, negative
  6. Relationship with Peers
  7. Relationship with Adults, significant i.e. leaders and insignificant e.g. irregular visitor or volunteers

 

Mark making

  • Your Benefits Analysis Profiles
  1. This will include how the opportunities provided each session can benefit the child or group. It is common to use the areas of development from SPICES. (See next Article)
  • Risk Assessment
  1. Site
  2. Weather and general Welfare
  3. Collecting Natural Material
  4. Using Rope and String
  5. Being Raised up off the ground (e.g. Tree Climbing)
  6. Blind Fold Activities
  7. Using Water
  • Programme Aims for the Baseline Assessment
  1. Consider what the purpose of the first  weeks are to achieve
  2. What do you want to find out
  3. How are you going to do it
  4. How will you break down the programme into sessions
  • Theoretical Process
  1. Which theoretical processes will you be using in order to support children and have a framework for your observation e.g.
    1. Schema (Piaget)
    2. Multiple Intelligences (SMARTS)
    3. Play Types (Bob Hughes)
    4. Taxonomy of Learning
    5. Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky)

 

  • Programme Planning
  1. What experiences will you provide in week one that will give you the information you need in order to plan for the week after (observation of child’s intrinsic motivations)
  2. This will include opportunities for children to explore and to have opportunities for you to observe all areas of holistic development as well as their relationship to self, peers, adults and environment
  3. What will your reflection processes be to find out what the children have learnt and to ensure children can transfer learning by the end of the session.
  4. What is your delivery methodology
    1. Visual
    2. Auditory
    3. Kinaesthetic
    4. Auditory Digital (thinking about thinking)
    5. Individual
    6. Pairs
    7. Group

 

  • What Resources do you need
  1. Packed Happy Bag
  2. Completion of First Aid that covers children, adults and outdoors. (Health and Safety at Work Act 1974)

 

  • Procedures
  1. What are the Normal Operating Procedures (NOP)
  2. What are the Emergency Action Plans (EAP)
  3. Policy Documentation and Insurance

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Once the Baselines are completed for each child and the data collected evaluated after the session, it is at that point that the leaders will make recommendations for the next session in the initial 6 sessions. You will be deciding what it is that you need to provide in order to either allow children to investigate further, in order to observe behaviours and areas of development that you may not have seen in their full array and need to establish perhaps what the schema are for children, i.e. are they revisiting and developing the Schema when you provide the resources an opportunity for them to discover, experiment and investigate on their own.

After the 6 Week section, the Baseline Assessment process, you as the leader, and with your team members will sit and devise a programme for the next year that will again identify the aims for the children, each one individually, as well as a group to lead to the Transition Phase.

You will not under any circumstances write a full session designed programme for them but you will ensure that you understand the development needs for the children and you will then consider a range of opportunities for the children in order to provide them with the widest and most powerful possibility for each child or learner to (amongst other things)

  • achieve
  • mature
  • develop confidence
  • self worth
  • resilience
  • environmental identity
  • a reasonable and responsible actual self
  • realistic ideal self

Above all have fun, enjoy the process.

There is a skill in the process, and so with any skill, practice hard, practice well and reflect on your own practice and adjust and adapt and develop as required to ensure that the Forest Schools Programme is a transformational process.

Get Children Outdoors

Secondary Evaluation Report for Forest Schools

February 10, 2015

There appears to be a lack of evaluative reports Forest Schools Practitioners working on long term programmes with the secondary and adolescent period of maturity.

There are many professionals working very effectively with this age group in a range of settings and with great success.

Woodland & LogMuch feedback of these types of programmes is anecdotal and though this is useful there is an increased need to be able to encourage those on the SMT or Governors where academic success is seen to be the main aim of this sage in the education system

For many young people there has been a delay in the process of normal maturation and as result they are functioning at a much earlier age in some areas of their holistic development (physical, intellectual, linguistic/language, emotional, social and spiritual understanding) than would be anticipated.

The report highlights many areas of development and many areas of immature behaviours being reduced and replaced my more socially acceptable ones in their place.

Evaluation Report of Archimedes Young Peoples Project

Get Children Outdoors

Forest Schools Practitioners – The importance of the long term programme

February 7, 2015

cropped-1011073_249701278524332_1467877916_n.jpgArchimedes Earth’s work is not and never has been entirely simply about the children you are working with, it’s about the wider community, society and the sustainability of the world. This is established through involvement of adults, either in school, in a position of power and those within the close knit and more fragmented family life of those children you are working with. Archimedes Forest Schools Education has at its soul and core a purpose that develops a deep understanding of our own impact on emotional literacy and wellbeing, though a heightened self awareness, awareness of other people, and an awareness of environmental surroundings, atmosphere, nuance and energy. As an Archimedes trained practitioner how do we create all of that with our body language, how do we manage and understand the most appropriate levels of eye contact, using cadence, tone, modulation, or modality, the right pitch of voice at the right time and the right place. The relationship between you and your staff is going to have a massive impact on what’s actually happening with you as a person and then the direct impact that this will have on the relationship with those that you are in a position of power to influence.

We already know that all behaviour is a representation of a personal need and whatever has happened today so far will be impacting on the way that you think feel and manage your body, face, voice and relationships with others. Forest Schools level 3, a qualification for those wanting to become a qualified practitioner and this particular section we are discussing is about children, emotional trauma and attachment. In the UK, and I am sure that this a universal trait and one I think interesting is that many doctors, a lot of social workers, a lot of people who are working with children actually do not have a deep or complex understanding of social behavior that is responsive and reflective of lacks of attachment, or impacts of this trauma on early childhood. There is a lot of information underneath that some adults actually have no awareness of. GP’s are in the same position when it comes to that of disability and it is not the position of the doctor to actually diagnose, not diagnose, but even so do not have a good understanding of the root causes or the root symptoms with children for example with ADHD or those with autistic disorders (ASD) and its very interesting, as they are called general practitioners for a reason. As a result of this lack of specific knowledge, then it is one of the things that we are looking in trying to develop by offering doctors and other specialist a deeper and better understanding of some of these areas in order to be able to support that child more readily and allow access to the specialist services that are required to reach their potential now and in later life.

There is much research about attachment and a recent study in the UK pointed to potentially over 35% of young children having attachment issues. For example, If you walk along the road to any school, you look at parents who are picking their children up, how many of them were on their mobile phones, something like 25%, A Guardian report published these findings, and it is demonstrating how we as parents are becoming disassociated from our children and because what’s happening is very real, we are looking to social media and technology for our own self esteem and self gratification, It is actually privatizing, or isolating and excluding our social interactions from those that we love and care for and you know this can only have a negative impact in a long term so it is really real and very sad. It will be impacting on the emotional wellbeing of our society in the long-term future.

When you come to do your Level 3 Forest Schools assessment it is a process not only for you to find out whether you can tie a knot, or not, whether you are able to light a fire or not, those are literally tools to your development of therapeutic intervention, learning, and facilitation as a leader. You can take a horse to water but you cannot make it drink. But, you, if you have a deep knowledge, a deep understanding, tons of empathy and the ability to be able to actually create different ways of working, sometimes through trial and error at Forest Schools or Forest School nursery, then the outcome for that individual child, as they move into adulthood can be transformational. It actually means that they can carve a place in the world as opposed to actually being disparate, you know, and forever just floating, not really sure where they are going and what’s the point of this all. You are the one who can make the difference through your Forest Schools Education process.

This is part one of the series and supports the Level 3 Forest Schools Practitioner Training www.forestschools.com

And is a foundation of the Middlewood Nature Nursery www.forestschoolskindergarten.com