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childcare

Get Children Outdoors

Freedom 100 is a Resounding Success!

October 4, 2015

It has been such an honour to works with 100 people from all walks of life, and from all continents over the past 6 months on the Archimedes Forest Schools Training in Sheffield.

I’d like to say a big Congratulations to you all – you have all been absolutely AMAZING!!

We have had delegates from Moscow, Turkey, Dubai, Ireland, Denmark, the US and of course from all over the UK from Cornwall, to Kent, Scottish Highlands to the mountains and valleys of Wales, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Sunderland, Staffordshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, London, and South Yorkshire and Derbyshire to name a few.

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It was a trial process this year as the Fast Track required Practitioners to attend the first week in March or April this year and then to complete their portfolios, which are intense and hard work, as well as to deliver their Baseline Assessments and their observations and analysis of the process.

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All of this before coming back for a CPD Practical day in the woods to fine tune and hone those practical skills before assessment, and then of course attend the final 4 days of further training progression and skills and ethos assessment.

The quality of portfolios of evidence are outstanding, the professionalism of delivery and practical skills teaching is exemplary.

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So all in all I am really proud of everyone i have met and had the honour to train and work with on their journey. In addition to know that these 100 people are now qualified Forest Schools Practitioners, all going gout into the world to transform the lives of all of those they work with from here on in.

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If each of these Freedom 100 people go onto work with 100 children in the next year, that is 10,000 children touched by the Archimedes Forest Schools Model in the next 12 months.

If each one of those 10,000 children tell one parent then that is 20,000 people whose life is touched. if each of those 20,000 tell a brother or sister that is 30,000 and then the parents tell 2 family friends and a grandparent that is 50,000 people who will know of the wonders of nature and experience it for themselves as a result.

If this is multiplied by 10 years then by 2025 as a direct result, and this is a conservative estimation, then that is half a million children, grown ups and others that will have heard of and experienced either directly or vicariously the amazing nature of Forest Schools and the new connection to the natural world around them.

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Imagine the health benefits, not only physical but also emotional and social, the sense of self and a personal confidence in their own abilities as a result of their experience.

I’d like to thank everyone who has made this possible, my staff team for the organisation and administration, and to all the learners who have participates and to all the children and schools in which the Archimedes Forest Schools Model is now becoming a way of life. Now and in the future.

We will be having another Freedom 100 programme of study next March and April 2016 and so if anyone is interested in participating and becoming a part of this amazing and transformational programme called Archimedes Forest Schools then do contact info@forestschools.com for more details. This offer will not be on the main diary as it isintended to make Forest Schools available to all and is open to those from around the world, from all walks of life.  DSCF3398

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.

Childhood Development

Autistic Children and Natural Play

January 17, 2015
Autism in the Outdoors

I think that, reading what the physicians and psychologists are saying, Autism is on the increase and this is confusing professionals as to what the reasons for this can be.

Life is an adventure, exploration, discovery and challenge brings out the best in all of us!

Life is an adventure, exploration, discovery and challenge brings out the best in all of us!

There is too little time over the last 15 years, that has seen the marked increase in ASD diagnosis to blame genetical changes, so the only other conclusion is the environmental atmosphere and conditions in which we live.

There is research into metals in the air, electromagnetic waves impacting on synapses and neurotransmitters, the calcium imbalance decreasing the filters that will inhibit hypersensitivity to natural stimuli. Resulting in anxiety, stress and overstimulation.

We are overly impacted and exposed to technology and manufactured objects and ‘things’ and stuff’ that all looks the same and these can be found everywhere we look. In the home, schools, nursery, shops, and walking out in the streets. Much of this modern technology engages but also can remove our sense of place and self as we become more and more isolated communing more intently through our computers, phones, iPads, and tablets.

All of this isolation is of course removing us form the interaction with the natural environment
and we see it everyday in the press and even in schools and the local community, that many
people see the natural world as something to possess, something that will bend to our rules and desires and something that we look at from a distance. There is after all an increase of the nature programmes on TV. unfortunately this does not increase or produce environmental attachment, i.e. the inner compassion for nature that will engender a passion to love and care for it in the future.
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Autistic Children and Adults, irrespective of the cause of the condition, tend to have an ability to become overly stressful, fearful, nervous and research is revealing the health benefits to all of us of and being outside allows us to be influenced by the rhythms and flows of time, seasons and for natural curiosity to take place. We all acquire a sense of calm, a sense of place and it is a place where all trees, plants, leaves, every molecule is different and unique, in the same way that we are and as a result we are automatically in a place of balance and non judgement. We are not open to criticism and we can be the masters of our choice and in control of our own moment.

We know that there are both physical and mental benefits and helps us to build an understanding of the world and a sense of ourselves within it
This is as important for Autistic children and adults as it is for us that think we are not affected by ASD!
The value of being ourselves, being in the wildness of outside and though a repeated opportunity to visit and potentially connect with nature for the firs time this will develop a range of life skills essential for adulthood where knowing and understanding that simply being in nature soothes and heals, and that when in a stressful state we can visit and be to help to make ourselves well.

Autistic children and adults need to understand that they have the capacity to feel well, to be well and how to become well in times of overwhelm and stress in the modern world that we all live

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Forest School Nursery is a way for ASD children to begin to understand themselves and how therapeutic the natural environment truly is
Forest Schools Kindergarten has been a conduit for peace and calm over many years and had a positive impact on children

for more information then please contact Forest School Nursery Sheffield – Middlewood Nature Nursery – Forest Schools Kindergarten www.forestschoolskindergarten.com and Book a visit, we would love to meet with you

Get Children Outdoors

Forest School Nursery – Sheffield

January 17, 2015

Forest School Nursery is  a unique, but totally natural way for children to grow and develop in the world. There is an emerging demand for full time early years provision and care that offers children and families access to nature, to woodlands, to wild spaces all day everyday as they grow and progress towards maturity and school life

Every moment is a fresh beginningMany families have not had the opportunity to access a Forest Schools Nursery in their local area. But those who have make the commitment to allow their children to have the opportunity to play and learn in this new and emerging Forest School Nursery and Forest Kindergarten environment such as Nature to Nurture and Forest School nursery in London, Scotland and other regions have all had wonderful experiences and so have their children.

Follow us on twitter @naturenursery_14 @nature_nursery as well as on Face book Forest Schools Kindergarten and Middlewood Nature Nursery

If you live in Sheffield, it takes 15 to drive from Fulwood to the Nursery, it take, 10 minutes from Broomhill, and Crookes and Walkley, Tapton and only a couple from Middlewood and Hillsborough.

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Book a visit today and come and see what we are doing. Come and see why Middlewood Nature Nursery, the Forest School Nursery is attracting so much attention

Our sole purpose is to support healthy, happy and rounded children who are resilient and able to manage themselves socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually in the world

Get Children Outdoors

Working Mums and Childcare

January 7, 2015

If you are anything like me, choosing the right childcare is a nail biting experience to say the least!

As mums returning to work, there is always the anxiety and the guilt involved with parting from the most precious part of your being, your own child.

We choose to go back to work for a number of reasons;

  • because we want to
  • because we have to financially
  • because we need to for our sanity and self esteem
  • because we want to hold onto the part of our own selves that functions in the wider world and doesn’t revolve around nappies and unfulfilling sleep patterns to name just a few

We all have our own reasons and motivation, but irrespective of those we also want the very very best for our children when they are not with us for the most part of the day.

We want their lives to be stimulating, happy and challenging. We want for them, pleasure, acceptance, a sense of value, a sense of self, a sense of place.

We all know how beneficial the outdoors is for us and it is the same for our children, irrespective of their age or gender, or ability.

Outdoor play supports learning and development and so finding a unique nursery that offers this provision can help you to make the right decision for your family right from the very start.

1522053_241207072707086_1250774215_nThere are untold physical benefits to being in the outdoors

  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Spatial Awareness
  • Dexterity
  • Manipulation
  • Walking, running jumping
  • Hopping
  • Stacking
  • Throwing
  • Stirring
  • Connecting
  • Digging
  • Filling
  • Floating
  • Building
  • Pouring

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These are just a few of those that spring to mind. Many of these activities children in the Early Years and School simply do not get the opportunity to investigate and explore and conduct their own research in all its forms and varieties due to the limitation of space, time, knowledge of practitioners or resources available.

Give your child the best start in life by allowing them to have as much fun as they can all day, everyday. Be confident that their holistic development needs are being met and work with those who understand the value of Nature as the Third Teacher and work in collaboration by offering your child a Scandinavian Forest Schools Experience.

Visit Middlewood Nature Nursery in Sheffield UK and lets Start this Adventure!

www.forestschoolskindergarten.com

We are so confident that your child will literally have the time of their lives and that your expectations for your child will be totally met  everyday, we are offering a massive 10% off Full Time Fees for your Under 2 for a whole 12 months if you Register your place before 15th January 2015

We can’t wait to meet you!