Browsing Tag

Forest school training

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

Sarah Blackwell – From then until Now – Freedom 100

March 1, 2015

Sarah Blackwell and the History behind Freedom 100

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Born in the 1960’s, in Cheshire, England, Sarah Blackwell developed a love of people and social welfare at an early age, but her career didn’t take off until she joined Chelfham Mill School in Barnstaple in 1981. Her traveling was inspired when she joined a group of other young people on a busking trip around Europe in 1982. Sarah realized that she had no ear for music and was sacked from the band in Venice! Taking up juggling and fire eating she enabled her own trip to continue as she found a niche to making money to support the group.

After visiting a number of countries Sarah returned to Devon where she worked as a dressmaker and a seamstress selling locally in the markets and at festivals such as Glastonbury. Sarah married and she gave birth to her first child in January 1986. Joe himself now a young man with a wanderlust and a sense of adventure lives in Thailand and is a Men’s Clothing Designer and supports other businesses with web design and app development.

Sarah and her husband and baby Joe set off again in their beautiful bus and returned to Germany where they travelled for a few months before returning to Sheffield, parking up at the end of her mother in laws street, where they lived for 18 months until baby Aaron was born in 1988. Having to move to a house environment was an interesting experience and as it became increasingly obvious that Aaron was developing a range of additional needs, not speaking, sleeping and having outrageous outburst of frustration and violence. This was finally diagnosed with Autism when he was nearly six years old. This knowledge had a devastating impact on Sarah at the time.

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Sarah continued her work as an entertainer and had an agent working around the country. As this work progressed Sarah working with a business partner set up social play schemes and worked with disadvantaged young people and children in order to build self confidence and courage in the face of some deeply difficult socially dysfunctional situations. Sarah’s Passion for people was being satisfied though her work breaking new ground in personal development through performance and circus skills. Her work as a child minder gave her valuable insights into working with children and professionals in their baby days!

For years, Sarah had struggled to escape from the confining family environment where expectations of social adhesion was the norm, and has spent much energy and passion trying to overcome her memories of her difficult years there, and enabling others to overcome and become independent and courageous individuals. Sarah gave birth to her daughter Elly in September 1999 and is now an International Business graduate from Cardiff University and has set up her own company called Fro Yo Joy traveling and working in Australia.

family 1993Sarah was a lonely child and found social interactions difficult and these were not encouraged by her family. Adopted at the age of 6 weeks she always struggled with her sense of belonging and this resulted in a battle for self worth and self esteem. School was difficult and left home at 18 after having run away on a number of occasions looking for better options and care and attention that she so longed for. Academically Sarah survived but it was not until she returned to education in her 30’s that Sarah started working toward the path that she now finds herself upon.

Sarah undertook a range of outdoor qualification and she worked at the Outdoor Education Department in Stockport and again it was her desire to help to transform lives that led her to work with young people out of education and some young mothers. Her degree in Countryside Recreation Management, which she achieved a First Class Honors and was awarded the CPRE (Council for the Protection of Rural England) award for her research on the impacts of the outdoor adventures in social communication of children with autism. Her fourth child Euan was only 7 days old when she returned to complete her last year at university.

Sarah, knowing that it was always through a recognised ‘profession’ that it is easier to move on an up in the industry that she loved, as a result, with four children to look after she continued her education and training for an additional year to become a Business Education Teacher and gained her PGCE from Sheffield Hallam University.

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Environmental Interests

Sarah had had a range of experiences in the natural environment growing up and it was not by any stretch of the imagination the most sought out environment for her when she was growing up. However her new found confidence in the understanding of the power of nature to heal and to nurture during this time of her career drove her onto her first ‘grown-up’ job as she describes it; Environmental Education officer at Thornbridge Outdoors. The outdoor center that provided adventures for all children from Sheffield. So finally, after graduating from university, something she never thought would happen in her lifetime, Sarah sought to challenge attitudes, introduce new processes for working with young people and children and she quickly realized that working within the traditional system, was not the way to go about it. There were too many constraints and expectations and there would be a limit to the possibilities that would be open to her dream.

In the summer of 2000 Sarah left Thornbridge highly motivated and excited about what the future could bring for her and for society as a whole. Sarah moved to Buxton in Derbyshire and began her new business of Forest Schools Education. This was later registered, due to its success as Archimedes Training Ltd.

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Sarah began Delivering programmes that lasted a full year to young people in inner city and rural areas in local woodlands on personal development and emotional well being projects. The results were stunning. The relationships, confidence, language skills and communication processes that enable so may of these young people to begin to return to school, to learning and to function more fluidly and flexible in their communities and families was remarkable. Sarah ran the first Urban Forest Schools in 2001, she worked with teenagers, adolescents, those with special needs, mental health problems, drug and alcohol addiction, youth justice and prolific persistent offenders, parents, teachers, babies, children, boys, girls, men, women and grandparents of all cultures, nationalities, languages and races. Sarah is passionate about cultural identity, heritage and a sense of place in the world.

 

Work grew and in 2002 Sarah wrote the first independent Forest Schools Practitioner Award and this started her delivery of training that now take her and her company across the globe. Sarah has not looked back.

Having now worked and trained with over 6500 practitioners, each one having influenced the loved of over 1million children, parents, families and communities, Sarah has a desire that all children, in every situation, country region, nation can experience Forest Schools, or Beach Schools or River Schools or Bush Schools. The essence of change, of self belief, of passion, of a desire to live strongly and brilliantly in the word is at her heart.

In November 2013, Sarah re assessed her own personal aspirations, desires and journey. Handing over the reigns to her training company Forest Schools Education to her newly appointed Managing Director and Commercial Director. This decision has released her to follow other passions and dreams that will go towards creating the big picture and the international vision that she has. Archimedes Earth. Not only this but the development and inspiration of the Forest Schools Kindergarten is going from strength to strength. A plan she had for educating her own children 28 years ago, but which never came to fruition, but now it will, just in time perhaps for grandchildren and the local communities in which they will be set, in woodlands of course !!

 

The present, the Future and you

Sarah knows that the work she does is valuable and essential. That without it there will be many children in this world who will never discover who they are, how they fit into the jigsaw of life, and will never experience their own vision of success and possess the internal motivation and independence or the power to achieve their goals.

Sarah is working on all continents; she is passionate about you and about your children. She is looking for partners, trainers, teachers, educators, youth workers, mental health professionals, special needs coordinators and practitioners who are willing to step out on a limb, to take courage and to work with us to expand our provision across all communities, cultures, boundaries and generations around the world

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I am committed to change; I am committed to a flourishing generation; I am committed to babies, children and to their mothers and fathers, to families; to diversity; to education.

Most of all I am committed to a life worth living, free from internal and external oppression, and I will support you in your desire to live a life, to give a life, to educate for a life of freedom through this vision.

 

Join us on FREEDOM 100 this April for the Fast Track Level 3 Forest Schools Training Programme

www.forestschools.com

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 Schools Symposium USA

January 15, 2015

So it’s coming!

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Do you want to be a part of the first cohort of qualified US practitioners?

Do you want to burn the torch of excellence and draw others to you?

Do you want your children to experience Forest Schools everyday of their childhood- look no further!

IMG_2781Forest Schools Education is coming to America this year and we will see you there at the symposium and we will  have a very special Free gift for you if you sign up!

It’s a once in a lifetime offer, it can’t be repeated – so make sure you don’t miss out!

Go to www.forestschools.com for more information about this leading Forest Schools Training Academy

Are you wanting to establish a Forest School, a Forest Nursery, a Nature Nursery or other type of nature immersion programme we can’t wait to meet you later in 2015.

www.forestschoolskindergarten.com shows what can be achieved at Middlewwod a Nature Nursery

www.forestschools.com gives an overview to Forest Schools and training opportunitiesIMG_3584

Send us your email and details on the contact form on either website and you will be the first to receive your Early Bird Offers!

Phone +44(0)114 2834060 for more information