Browsing Tag

forest schools

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.

DSCF3373

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.

DSCF3393

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.

DSCF3392

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.

DSCF3385

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.

DSCF3383

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

The Archimedes Forest Schools Model

October 4, 2015

I am very pleased to announce the publication in Kindle or iBooks of our new book outlining the Archimedes Model that is applied to Forest Schools Practice and also to Beach Schools and the Social Forestry provision and qualifications developed over the last 15 years in the industry.

The Archimedes Forest Schools Model

TH

It is available through the Amazon Store now if you follow this link

Its the first in a series and hope that you enjoy it

Book Overview

This publication is about the theory, practice and methodology of the Archimedes Forest Schools model of outdoor learning, carried out in a woodland or wild environment. The practice evolved from Scandinavian models found in Denmark, Norway and Sweden from the 1950’s through the 1990s as Forest School in UK and now it has assumed a respectable and meaningful place within the wide variety of delivery methodologies for the overall development of children and as a significant and intentional process for improving learning in children of all ages as well as adults in and for the environment and forest education universally.

Forest schools as an educational concept was introduced into the UK from its origins in Scandinavia in 1994. Since those humble beginnings, the Forest Schools concept has blossomed throughout the UK and as I write there are at least 300 training organisations that train practitioners in Forest Schools education with over 11,500 practitioners who are delivering Forest Schools programmes and sessions to a range of audiences.

There are many ways to use the Forest Schools concept in a variety of settings, with a range of audiences delivering an equally diverse set of outcomes. The wide variety of Forest Schools experiences being offered reflects this opportunity for different applications. The Archimedes Forest Schools model is unique in its approach and delivers on its goal “To transform the lives of children on every continent around the world”

Archimedes from the outset has recognised the ultimate potential of this educational concept is that it can be highly effective in creating positive transformational behavioural changes in the participants who experience it. The Archimedes model is all about transformation of children’s lives over time by engaging with the natural and wild spaces around them.

 

Get Children Outdoors

You up to become the Forest Schools Kindergarten Deputy Manger in Sheffield UK?

June 3, 2015


Forest Schools Kindergarten in Sheffield is no ordinary nursery

cropped-7550_254248858069574_675983131_n.jpgOpen for only 6 months we are developing and growing at an extraordinary rate and are looking to expand more to enable children to live and learn outdoors and to offer parents a supportive and safe setting for their children.

Our present staff and managers are passionate about children’s growth and development through Forest Schools Education and their own love of the outdoors. It is this innate understanding that they pass onto others and work to the strengths of the babies and children they work with every day.

Baby HeadIf you are interested in letting us know how your skills and passions can compliment the present staff team and most importantly the children’s development and become the baby room team leader, then we would love to hear your story.

family 1993Based in the North of Sheffield we are the only Forest Schools kindergarten in the region with our own setting, Ofsted registered and working in partnership with the local council in providing access to woodlands and parks.

Glen Howe Woods was the setting for the Ragged School in 1890 for Sheffield Slum children, and now 130 years later we are proud to be educating and playing back in those wonderful woodlands for the health and wellbeing of our children and families

I Love OctoberBe wonderful, be part of our team and the educational change of children in South Yorkshire

Dep Manager job des[1]

Get Children Outdoors

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

Childhood Development, Get Children Outdoors

Early Years Toolkit – Supporting Childrens’ Development

March 16, 2015

cropped-7550_254248858069574_675983131_n.jpg

It is the Education Endowment Foundation that has created this new Tool Kit to assess effectiveness of using a variety of different learning strategies through research.

Cost and Effectiveness are always being balanced in education

The Foundation has developed guidance on how Early Years Professionals to use the resources to aid improvement in learning for disadvantaged children, and the tool kit led by Professor Steve Higgins has been produced along with academics from the School of Education at Durham University.

Forest Schools Education bases its developmental ethos on enabling children to develop self awareness and self regulatory strategies, thus enabling them to understand the town behaviours and learning. The foundation found that these strategies had a very positive impact on disadvantaged children, as well as those from more socially economically sound backgrounds.

We know that the understanding and practice of self regulation leads to self motivation and as such has a lasting effect on learning at school, resilience and the ability to persist during life long learning because of a change and development in positive social behaviours. 
So many wonderful things to make with mud

So many wonderful things to make with mud

The researchers suggest that this self regulation can in some children lead to an average of seven extra months of progress.

The report says, ‘It is not possible to tell from existing evidence whether providing extra hours (at nursery) is a more promising strategy for three-year-olds or four-year-olds.’ However, where the integral ethos to the nursery as it is at the Forest School Nursery, is to promote these aspects then it could have a positive benefit

Research has been formulated from 1,600 studies and the toolkit addresses the following topics

  1. Communication and language,
  2. Earlier starting age in early years education,
  3. Early literacy,
  4. Early numeracy,
  5. Digital technology,
  6. Extra hours,
  7. Parental engagement,
  8. Physical development,
  9. Physical environment,
  10. Play-based learning, and
  11. Self-regulation strategies.

 

The new resource was launched by Dr Collins at 4Children’s Early Years Matters conference in London this month.

Steve Higgins, Professor of Education at Durham University, acknowledges that evidence is now available to enable early years professionals to make important decisions around their every day planning and strategy. He is hopeful that the Early Years Toolkit helps to bridge the divide between research and practice and will enhance a more effective early years provision for all children.

  •  The Early Years Toolkit can be found here

 

Childhood Development

Forest School Education China

March 11, 2015
Forest Schools in China

Archimedes Earth and Forest Schools Education (FSE) Founder and CEO Sarah Blackwell recently spent time in China developing partnerships and introducing the Concept of Forest Schools Education in China to delegates at the International Montessori Association Conference, to University Principles, to Students, to Early Years Professionals and Outdoor Centre Managers. The trip was arranged by highly recognised and well regarded Chinese Business Owners and Early Years Trainers

Chin photo 3[3]

The Global Focus of Archimedes Earth  is to introduce the concept of Forest Schools Education worldwide.

China photo 4[2]FSE seeks to expand the ethos and aims of  its unique and transformational educational model Forest Schools. Forest Schools have been running in the UK since its inception in 1994 and is now widely accepted in the UK. Inspired by the strong cultural outdoor history in the UK and compliment by the Scandinavian education system.

China photo 3[1]There are many research findings and anecdotal evidence to show high levels of success and increased wellbeing of learners and this development of higher levels of self-confidence improves performance levels in school and life.

The Archimedes Forest Schools Education Model and ethos is largely based on the importance of nature as a teaching tool and medium, the understanding of the trained practitioners in supporting unique learning styles, multiple intelligences, schemas and other child development techniques.

Pin badgeThis approach to education has been developed to encompass and exemplify the work of educational theorists, developmental psychologists and other leaders of education and learning. The highly influential and scientific pedologist Maria Montessori, others such as Jean Piaget and Jerome Bruner and Vygotsky  have all provided a strong base for children to learn through and from nature and it is these individuals whose work threads through the amazing work of the Archimedes Forest Schools Model.

China photo 1[3]The successes of Archimedes Forest Schools Model, having now reached a global scale, is based upon research that demonstrates that when practitioners adopt independent,  child lead learning philosophies, that children are able to experience greater opportunities of self exploration, self discovery and a much more successful learning experience. Research shows that this way of working can develop creativity, problem solving and mastery for effectively and efficiently than one that is rigid and teacher lead.

China Teacher Training CollegeThus the principles of Forest Schools encourages an outdoor natural learning environment, loose parts and an environment that offers multi-sensory experiences and opportunities where children are recognised as unique and this individuality is cherished and supported, whilst developing a sense of respect, accommodation, empty and nurture for others and the culture that practitioners work within.

Chin photo 1[4]Are you in a position to support the expansion of this highly acclaimed educational methodology with us in China?

Archimedes Earth is committed to supporting you through consultancy, educational lectures, Public speaking events, and meetings with those within schools, government and official positions in China. We are the Experts in our field, no one has been training longer that our staff, we have a combined culmination of over 75 years in the field!

China photo 5Our expertise extends to speaking with Government Officials, Ambassadors, Education Ministers, Environmental Ministers, Research Fellows, University Professors and principles and   through our professional and experienced team, supporting press conferences and informational seminars to a wide range of individuals and groups within the educational sector.

China photo 2The unprecedented level of interest experienced by the Archimedes Forest Schools Model in Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Beijing, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the US shows how the need for a global understanding of a range of cultures and educational influences can support children learning and educational development in an every changing world. Parents, teachers and educational providers are iincreasingly open minded with a desire to education and support their children academically though innovative, but proven systems for their children.

We are building ever increasingly important relationships with Education Companies, Early Years Providers, Colleges and Parents. We offer a full package of support and this is delivered, as in other nations, in three very separate but distinct ways.

Chin photo 5[1]Firstly: We work in collaboration with companies and individuals  who are in the process of developing schools or early years settings form inception to delivery and we ensure that the central ethos, curriculum, setting, environment and education of  their entire establishment can be modelled towards  delivering the Archimedes Forest Schools Education Model. We also support with the Archimedes Forest Schools Quality Mark.

China photo 3Secondly: For those settings and Schools already established and wanting to train staff in the Forest Schools ethos our experts, qualified and experienced Forest Schools trainers come from the UK to China and deliver our specialised and highly successful training course at the setting of your choice. All course content, resources and learning resources are fully translated so all Chinese teachers ands students have a full and  complete knowledge and understanding of the course and the requirements.

CHina photo 3[2]Thirdly: If you are a setting or school or organisation in China who has a cohort of students – students teachers, or nursery teacher – up to 20 at a time then  you can come to the UK to participate in our training course here in the UK. (it is possible at the same time as attending the Archimedes Forest School Training Course, clients can get an opportunity to explore the wonders of the UK and  receive additional English Language training if required.

We are the most experiences in the Forest Schools arena. We have trained over 6500 teachers worldwide and we want to work with you.

Please get in touch with us via our website  www.forestschools.com

You can contact us at info@forestschools.com

You can see our Forest Schools Kindergarten here www.forestschoolskindergarten.com

Get Children Outdoors

Forest Schools Principles

March 8, 2015

Lone TreeEach child’s journey of discovery is different and because Forest Schools is  long term, the beginning of a lifelong connection and affinity with nature. The great awe and wonder of the universe itself, we hold a very special, very precious and very unique, a place in providing opportunities for the child in creating substance, accountability and a notion of ownership and stewardship. The earth will reward our children as they begin to cherish and show compassion with nature and all the diversity that life beholds.Schools promotes, supports, encourages, guides, is informed by, inspired by, blown away by the child and all their magic and joy and creative spirit.

Forest Schools principles[2] have been developed in order to allow those looking in from the outside that there is a distinction between Learning Outdoors, Outdoor Learning, Outdoor Play, Outdoor Development and other types of Outdoor Programmes.

They are also used to encourage practitioners and trained leaders that what they are aiming for, what their visions and goals are for programme, provisions experiences and opportunities thought up and devised, are all there for the good of the child and their journey.

If you are interested in training then there are few options to choose from on the FSE course diary. I know that your children will benefit from your input immensely as they learn their own connection to nature and also with confidence that those you are already practicing are creating the change we wish to see in this world

 

 

Get Children Outdoors

Stakeholder Groups – Landowner Relationships for Outdoor Learning and Forest Schools

March 3, 2015

When we work with children we all get permission in the form of consent forms, and we make sure that families, parents and carers are all informed of what we do and how we do it. We have DBS and we have procedures and we have Risk and Benefits Analysis processes.

Sky amazing


Our policies and procedures in place that we review and our  Daily Dynamic Risk Assessments daily risk assessment check blank ensure that we keep going through the review process to make sure we can keep our children safe. This is an example of one that you can use or adapt for your specific groups or location

In the same way we have a responsibility for the land and wild spaces and woodlands that we use. We can do this in so many ways through our A4O process and our Benefits Analysis, but there is more to it than that and this begins with the association we create with local communities and with the landowners who allow us to utilise their land in the first place. Without this good, healthy and supportive relationship we can end up skulking around with no legal access that could to some extents and in some situations null and void our insurance. Something we simply do not want to consider.

Without Landowners to support our programmes and projects  we have no environment in which to take our children to.

Before we take our children or groups into the local woodlands or wild spaces, even parks, if we are a commercial business, or not for profit or charity it is essential that we contact the landowner whomever they may be to ensure we have permission

Landowners can be

  • local council
  • private
  • estates
  • common ground
  • charity owned
  • Crown
     StormPan2

Find out through local residents, through contacting the local council, or farmers, or land registry if necessary. But it is essential that the landowner is a part of your programme for Forest Schools or Outdoor Learning programme

There are instances of companies having to either shut down, restrict or postpone visits because they have not built up a relationship with the landowners and sought permission before commencement

Archimedes Earth and Forest Schools Education -FSE- all advocate and promote and positively encourage you to liaise with landowners.

Its the same as someone coming into your garden and playing without asking first.

Get Children Outdoors

Sarah Blackwell – From then until Now – Freedom 100

March 1, 2015

Sarah Blackwell and the History behind Freedom 100

DAC
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.

Grassy field sunsetWild Child

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.

DAC

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.

Wild and Free

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

cropped-1011073_249701278524332_1467877916_n.jpg

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