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Childhood Development, Forest Schools, Get Children Outdoors

Risk and its Importance in Forest Schools Programmes for Learning and Development

February 7, 2017
Learning and Development

Risk and its Importance in Forest Schools Programmes for Learning and Development

“It is argued that taking risks can have positive implications in terms of children’s developmental, social and emotional needs, as well as their overall health. By providing the opportunities for children to manage their own risks in a controlled environment, they will learn vital life skills needed for adulthood, and gain the experience needed to face the unpredictable nature of the world.” (Gill, 2007)

Excellent quote from Tim Gill; But what does it actually mean for us? You know that I am proponent of the idea that we assume nothing presume nothing.

So what exactly do you, I, we understand by this; what is a controlled environment for example; what does it mean specifically, how controlled, how free; what do we expose our children to; what do we do to protect; what do we allow; what do we manage and what do we allow children through different age cohorts to manage for themselves – specifically?

These questions are fundamental to our understanding and then to the relationship that we have with the environment, with our staff, with our school governors, with our parents and with our children themselves.  They are key to how we then go about supporting learning and development through our programmes over the course of their schooling years.

Forest Schools has a core ethos regarding child-centered learning and the offer of play to children whilst they are attending our programmes. But how can we actually incorporate the principles of play and is this process in a reasonable and acceptable and totally realistic way? How do we incorporate free play experiences that we are able to plan for, and offer our children at our Forest Schools programme throughout each session, or if this is planned can it actually be free play at all?

Play Wales (2008) states that play means ‘…providing opportunities for all children to encounter or create uncertainty, unpredictability, and potential hazards as part of their play. We do not mean putting children in danger of serious harm.’

It was Play England in 2007 that can maybe answer this question for us

‘Good risks and hazards in play provision are those that engage and challenge children, and support their growth, learning and development. These might include… loose materials that give children the chance to create and destroy constructions using their skill, creativity and imagination.’

So we are in the woods, out in the wild unfettered environment and we are allowing our children to go and explore and investigate and to get into their deep learning states that promotes learning and emotional connections. Excellent, we need to do no more, our session is sorted! We just sit back and observe and monitor what’s happening and all is well that ends well. Our Forest Schools leader role is complete. Our children go to play and to find and to build and to destroy and to jump and pretend and imagine and fantasies, and rough and tumble, jump, climb and role play and recapitulate and dramatise.

Oh but hang on

‘Bad risks and hazards are those that are difficult or impossible for children to assess for themselves, and that have no obvious benefits. These might include sharp edges or points on equipment, weak structures that may collapse, and items that include traps for heads or fingers.’ (Play England 2007)

But how do we know what a bad risk is for one child and the exact same thing may not be for another?

As a forest Schools Practitioner qualified to Level 3 you are the Safety Officer. That means you are responsible under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to eliminate exposure to significant risks that could cause harm to people, the environment and to things or equipment.

But how will you actually know what is significant, or unsuitable for your group to be exposed to?  You will base your decisions on the physical, cognitive and linguistic skills of your children, individually. How do you know what these are? It is through your baseline assessments and through Procedural documentation and Risk Assessment processes. But of course these will be balanced by your Benefits Analysis carried out against each identified hazard as well. These are provided to evidence that as a qualified Level 3 Forest Schools practitioner you thought about, assessed and monitored any identified significant risks to your group. But your job is to balance this and not eliminate all risks entirely.

‘Children and young people themselves recognise that ‘you can’t make everything safe’ and that a balance is needed between risks and fun (and the opportunity to be put into situations that may contain risk, but that without this exposure learning could not take place in any dimension – SB (2105) . Children recognise that knowing about risks and how to manage them is an essential part of growing up… Through play, children are able to learn about risks and use their own initiative. If children and young people are not allowed to explore and learn through playing and taking part in positive activities, they will not learn how to judge risks and manage them for themselves. These skills learnt through play and other activities can act as a powerful form of prevention in other situations where children and young people are at risk.’ (Play England, 2007)

Dweck (2000) states that:

‘encouraging children to enjoy challenges rather than to shy away from them could also increase their persistence and learning abilities.’ And we are reading more and more to support this view in the papers and in the news. Children are becoming so mollycoddled and protected that certain traits like independence, resilience, creativity and confidence are being eroded away.   

Playwork Principle 8 says:

‘Playworkers choose an intervention style that enables children and young people to extend their play. All playworker intervention must balance risk with the developmental benefit and well-being of children.’

Principle 8 allows us as Forest Schools Practitioners make a decision based on the prescribed process of risk-benefit analysis or assessment. TO reiterate what we mean here, if there is an identified hazard, what is the benefit or good that a child or group of children will gain from exposure to that particular hazard in the course of our experiences that we offer as part of the Forest Schools programme? Also, does the benefit outweigh the detrimental affects that this hazard could have on the child or group if they were exposed to it whilst in our care? Is the hazards affects serious or life threatening and if so how can these be managed in such a way that the child can still be exposed to due to other learning benefits that may be available.

Hazards provide opportunities for learning and development.

‘In a playground, (woodland – SB 2015) bumps, bruises scrapes and even a broken limb are not necessarily warning signs of greater dangers, as they might be considered in a factory or office environment. They are to be expected as part of everyday life for children growing up.

Providers need to decide for themselves what level of risk is appropriate in their provision, because the type and style of provision must be responsive to local circumstances … However, there are benefits from this approach at all levels and for all those involved in play, but above all for the children, who will have happier and more satisfying experiences of childhood with richer opportunities for healthy growth and development into competent and confident adults.’ (Play England, 2007)

What Are the benefits children, young people, and others will gain as a result of this experience?

Consider Physical, intellectual, Linguistic, Emotional, Social and spiritual.

Think creatively and identify IN DETAIL

What are the options of enhancing those benefits and what are the pros and cons for each one?

  • Increase the opportunities for engagement (with good risk).
  • Do nothing.
  • Monitor the situation (including supervision).
  • Increase the reach of the benefit.
  • The benefit is not significant enough compared to the risk involved

What are the Risks that children young people, and others will be exposed to?

What are the options for managing the risk, and what are the pros, cons and costs of each?

  • Decrease the opportunities for engagement (with bad risk).
  • Do nothing.
  • Monitor the situation (including supervision).
  • Lessen or manage the risk.
  • Remove the risk.

So we are now considering the consequences of our actions and one thing that Forest Schools Education gets asked quite often is about the Risk and likelihood of harm occurring and what is done to safeguard children. Well. In answer to that every probably and possible precautions, protections and insurances are put into place. These include deep level and constructive training processes that ensure that trainees follow procedure and process when opening an opportunity to encounter the riskier experiences. This includes safe working practices and these are to be unconsciously understood and participated in before any adult is permitted or entitled to use their skills with the children. Archimedes ensures that this is the case and as such we are confident in the preservation of child safety and wellbeing. We are not saying, however, that children will not encounter risk or acceptable harm along the way.

‘It is highly unlikely that a competent play worker will ever be taken to court and successfully prosecuted for negligence because the safeguards that we put in place to protect both ourselves and the children are sensible and show that we have a professional approach to risk.’ – (Play Wales, 2008)

Many of our children are building up their skills in terms of physical strength, dexterity, their resilience to be able to cope with failure and things that don’t go quite right for them, to understand altruism and awe and wonder, to be allowed to encounter Risk as Tim Gill suggest, sound judgment about themselves and others and the world around them develop as a consequence of being given opportunity to work at and to problem solve and to reflect on their experiences appropriately.

It is exactly the same with us as an adult or a Forest Schools Practitioner and as a result, we will be finding our own feet as we develop our skills in this new and flourishing industry we find ourselves. We need to feel comfortable and we need to feel able and flexible in our thinking in order to allow children to explore within their boundaries and for us not to be fearful to empower children in their play and leaning at Forest Schools. However, this comes with experience and as experience develops so does a broader understand of empathy and common sense can begin to prevail. ,

There is a pressure point where society influences the decisions and choices of parents and educational establishments and it is the responsibility of the Forest Schools practitioner who has a broad picture, the correct training and a personal confidence to balance this potential ‘cotton-wooling’ of our generations. Creativity comes from the explosion of thought and innovation, this will inevitably contain some aspect of risk and this is to be positively encouraged at Forest Schools. However this also needs to be managed well in order to allow children to be entrusted into our care and one of the best ways that this can be done is simply through enabling adults and decision makers to encounter Forest Schools for themselves as there is no boundaries to it no restrictions on age, culture, location, gender and ability.

Risk is not a scary thing when it is a perceived risk and when the Forest Schools practitioner, thought their own experience and understanding of the individual child, the group and the environment understands the extent of the risk and the consequential harms that could happen. They also have a deep understanding of the processes involved in minimizing those risks and as such can allow children to experiment within safe and acceptable boundaries of behaviours.

Research is showing that Forest Schools extends thought processes, encourages freedom, allows the development of creativity, understanding of self and others and the world around them

Extended Reading

Play England (2008) ‘Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implementation Guide’
www.playengland.org.uk/resources/managing-risk-in-play- provision-implementation-guide

Play Wales (2008) ‘A Playworker’s Guide to Risk’
www.playwales.org.uk/login/uploaded/documents/INFORMA TION%2 0SHEETS/playworkers%20guide%20to%20risk.pdf

Simon Nicholson’s ‘Theory of Loose Parts’

Bristol Scrapstore’s PlayPods project
www.playpods.co.uk

Play Englands ‘Play, Naturally’ project
http://www.playengland.org.uk/media/130593/play-naturally.pdf

References

Dweck (2000) ‘Self-theories: their role in motivation, personality and development’

Gill (2007) ‘No Fear: growing up in a risk adverse society’

Play England (2008) ‘Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implementation Guide’ Download from http://www.playengland.org.uk/resources/managing-risk-in-play-provision-implementation-guide

Play Wales (2008) ‘A Playworker’s Guide to Risk’ Download from
www.playwales.org.uk/login/uploaded/documents/INFORMATION%20SHEETS/playworkers%20guide%20to%20risk.pdf

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.

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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

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

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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.