Browsing Tag

forest schools

Get Children Outdoors

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

February 27, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get Children Outdoors

Monty Python advises Assessing for Opportunities ‘A4O’ or Benefits Analysis

February 18, 2015

Always look on the Bright Side of Life!

I believe that is what the Monty Python Team sang in one of their Films

1623363_254250071402786_1806562203_nI have taken this advice and since Archimedes started training leaders back in early 2002 our Policy on Risk is that the word itself conjures up negativity and a can’t do it attitude. We revoked this and began the mantra ‘Assessing for Opportunities’

As professional experience grows, the ability to be intuitive and almost unconsciously detect and be aware of potential hazards and evaluate the probability as well as the severity if the harm happening is undisputed. Its called ‘Longevity of Practice’

stockvault-the-farm-life104242The farm life by Charl Christiani

But we have to start from somewhere.  Being able to break down the assessment and evaluation process, allows us as the Safety Officer, – as that is what we become if we are responsible for keeping others safe and well – to make judgements that allow us to put in place preventative measures – our Normal Operating Procedures  and Emergency Action Plans.

When we have put preventative measures in place it is at this point that we know that ever precaution within our power has been taken so we are then free to offer the widest range of possibilities, opportunities and experiences to those we are caring for and whom we are actin Loco Parentis.

When we are covering all bases it is then and only then that we can begin to provide freedom for our children to explore and for them to learn through experience and self initiated investigations.

The Health and Safety Executive supports the concept of leaders, teachers, practitioners considering the benefits of the experience along side that of the considered risk.

Children need challenge and children need to experience hazards that can cause harm. Our job is to identify the benefits and make a judgement as to whether the benefit outweighs the potential harm from the hazard if it actually happens.

stockvault-childhood-memories102844Childhood Memories by Elli Garnett

Ferre Leavers uses a measure of Challenge as an indicator of Well being in children and states that if the incorrect level is not provided, or children can not experience dealing with challenge, then they will not mature, will not feel ‘well’ and will not become engages with the opportunities or the experiences that you provide. Challenge adds a dimension to learning that is essential for holistic development to occur. Intact without challenge certain traits will be absent as children grow into adulthood. Without these traits there is a greater risk of harm, both physical as well as psychological. this can lead to mental health issues, stress, anxiety, antisocial behaviour as well as self harm and suicide. 

Providing children with the right levels of challenge and exposure to the right levels and the right kinds of risk allow health development physically, intellectually, linguistically, emotionally, socially as well as spiritually.

The concept is becoming a greater prevalence and is becoming an acceptable process now in play, adventure and education, and through pioneers such as Tim Gill in his book, Nothing Ventured; Balancing Benefits and Risks in the Outdoors and Living in  Risk Adverse Society the powers that be are allowing those with an urgent desire to allow our children to play outdoors, to do exactly that.

There are a number of very good places to look and to investigate when considering  Assessing for Opportunity – A4O.

  1. Bath and North East Somerset Council developed the Tool kit for Benefits Analysis
  2.  Health and Safety Executive Children’s Play and Leisure, Promoting a Balanced Approach

So when the process of Assessing for Opportunities commenced in 2000 through our process and procedures and a desire to look positively, to use a method concentrating on aspirational language and take away the negative connotations and biased view of Risk Assessments, I am pleased to see that it is now becoming common practice by outdoor professionals throughout the world and supported by the government and other official authorities giving us more freedom to explore and to create positive learning opportunities for out children.

 

 

Get Children Outdoors

Secondary Evaluation Report for Forest Schools

February 10, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

Evaluation Report of Archimedes Young Peoples Project

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Forest Schools Practitioners – The importance of the long term programme

February 7, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forest Schools Education Introduction

January 16, 2015

Thank you to all of you who have requested information about Forest Schools Education
I Love OctoberFor all of you that have shown an interest in the Archimedes Forest Schools Education Symposium 2015

You are an inspiration and this is going to be your year!

I am committed to collaboration and I am so pleased to introduce myself

I am Sarah Blackwell and in 1995 I returned to education and completed my outdoor qualifications in Caving, Climbing, Mountaineering and Canoeing then went onto get an honours degree in Countryside Recreation Management. In 2000 I qualified as a teacher and since that time I have worked in education with children in early years right through primary, secondary, FE, HE at university and now run my own Training Academy with adult students attending from around the globe. But, my love of learning, natural enquiry, education and social change came at a young age. I started my career as a residential social worker in 1983 after studies in psychology, sociology, welfare in society and social biology.

“Totally surpassed in every way. I feel connected with the great outdoor with a passion I hope to hold on to forever. Wonderful delivery, faultless”

Now I hope to work with you. Archimedes staff have over 60 years collaboratively of working in Forest Schools and I can guarantee that we have had successes, things that haven’t worked quite so well, not only in working in nature with children but also establishing programmes and making the difference to children and grown ups lives. We have learnt form experience and these success and challenges have made us the leading experts in our field. We want  to share as many of these with you this year so you can be the best that you can be!

As promised here is an overview of Archimedes Forest Schools Education

Make sure you download About Forest Schools Education 2015 and then email us with your registration of interest

Contact me through www.forestschools.com to find out more information

email me on info@forestschools.com if you have any specific questions

Ensure that you are a part of the Dream. Be you you want to be, we want to work with you.

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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

 

 

 

 

Get Children Outdoors

Working in the Outdoors with SEN Impulse Control Related Disorders

January 9, 2015

Many of us are truly passionate about the natural environment and the basis that Nature is a healer and has a therapeutic impact on us all.

1959972_261101760717617_1265695520_nI have had the pleasure to know Matthew Briggs for about ten years now and as a young man stepping out on his career as a professional working with adults and young people with ASD and other Impulse Control Disorders, he has unimaginably come into his own.

I wanted to thank you Matthew, because of your work, your insight and your passion for something that is for some, beyond the very veil of conception, let alone putting it into practice. And now seeing the most dynamic and transformational change in young people, of course my son Aaron being one of them, whom you have taken on their own life’s journey to have the confidence to explore and to step into a world that for some with SEN or those that look after them and support them, would, and is not conceivable; but whom none the lesshave a right to know themselves, to know others, to know their world and their place within it

 

I hope that some of you will take the time to read Matthews published work and to understand a way of working that is both dynamic, sentient, spiritual and passionate. A process of working Hand, Heart, Head and how the principles develop from early childhood into adulthood through a development theory using a progressive range of resistant materials, form wools and fabrics, to wood to metals. A process that is not only a physical process, but one that transcends all of that into a realm of the unknown.

 

And then how this physical process moves into the metaphorical

Matthew has for me, and I believe for many of you out there who know it right, but not always got the route to the knowing, or the explanation of a way of working will all sigh, and know that this has something very special wrapped up in it folds that can be unpacked and teach us all a great deal about ourselves and about our practice. Through reflection of the fundamentals it takes not only us on a journey, but also those we work with.

cropped-1947470_271693402991786_90879418_n.jpgPlease click on the link to take a look. We are arranging a workshop where Matthew will share his research and practice and if you are interested them please do get in touch.

What are the Therapeutic and Pedagogical Benefits of Craft for Impulse Control related Disorders within the SEN Further Education Sector

 

MBriggs MSc Thesis 2014

 

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!

Get Children Outdoors

Children are Playing Outdoors Everyday at Middlewood Nature Nursery – Sheffield

December 13, 2014

Children are queuing up to come to Middlewood Nature Nursery!

Finally – thank you all for your patience, support, dedication, passion and HARD work over the last few months – we are now registered with Ofsted and  have our certificate of approval.

  • Badger Cubs for Babies from 3 months to 2 Years with our own sensory room
  • Fox Cubs for 2 -3 year olds
  • Wolf Cubs cater for 3 to 5’s

The Dangerous Adventure Club will also provide holiday cover for up to 13’s and in the New Year After School Care will be available also with pick ups from local schools.

We are on the tram links, bus routes and whilst based next to the River Don and Beely Woods in Middlewood are within easy distance of North, North West, South West, South and Central Sheffield, outskirts of Barnsley, and the perfect place to drop off your children if you are commuting from areas outside of Sheffield on the Northern Side.

Visit our new website www.forestschoolskindergarten.com and our Facebook pages Forest Schools Kindergarten and our new one specifically for Middlewood Nature Nursery 

Your child is precious and they only have their childhood once, give them the gift of life, freedom, fresh air and the whole world of nature as their teacher. You wont be disappointed, your children will love spending time with us and if they are happy and healthy, then your job as a parent can focus on all the wonderful things that life can offer you as a family!

We look forward to meeting you

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!