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outdoor learning

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

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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

March 26, 2015

The Archimedes Forest Schools Model is based on the elements to develop 

Respect of Self, Respect for others and Respect for the Environment

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!

 

  • Love and Compassion
  • Collaboration
  • Excellence and Integrity
  • Inclusion and Diversity

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Outcomes

 

Holistic Development

  • Increased self awareness, self regulation, self motivation, empathy and social skills including self-confidence and self-worth, resilience and respectfulness
  • Rooted compassion towards self, others and the environment

Capable Learner

  • Development of the capacity to know how to learn, the resources to learn effectively, the ability to set goals, and be motivated to achieve them.
  • Development of the desire to be excellent, to strive for the potential of learning and self fulfilment and happiness

Personal Sustainability

  • Know self and how to function successfully in the family, educational world, community,   society and the world
  • The development of  a positive environmental identity & responsibility.
  • Understand the 5 essential elements of wellbeing:-

                        Connect | Be Active | Take Notice | Keep Learning | Give

 

 

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

The Symbiotic Relationship of Child and Woods – Are you Sustaining Both?

February 24, 2015

EIA and MP MIddlewood ExampleIf you are an educationalist and a teacher, then the chances are you love nature – or you wouldn’t be reading this site! – but loving being in nature is not always enough to ensure that we preserve, sustain, conserve and maintain the woodlands we use for education, learning, play or leisure

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Qualified Forest Schools Level 3 Practitioners have  duty of care to children, no one disputes this – how many consider the duty of care to the natural environment and what that entails

Children and Nature interrelate on a biological and cellular level

You can’t have a child growing up in isolation of the elements, the natural cycles, the trees, grass, mountains or rivers without a part of that child’s inner most being as a human losing a part of its self that is essential to life.

In the same way you can not have woodlands and wild spaces growing up in isolation of the love, care, compassion and respect of children, because nature without children will in the future be destroyed completely and habitats die.

Nature is dependant for its wellbeing and health on children and their appreciation and respect to it, as much as children need nature for their wellbeing and health

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The process of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Management Planning can only be of any substance and any relevance when we as Practitioners and Leaders understand the importance of the need for sustainability. When we understand our role in the process as conduits for learning and love of nature with our children, we can begin to put an emphasis on learning species and relationships and how the natural systems depend on each other

When we know this, we then can apply with great joy and intention the Phase One Survey EIA where we acquire the knowledge and information of the woodlands we will work in

This can then lead to the Development of the Management Plan and monitoring process. Though our Role Modelling of our care and compassion, then children can begin to imitate our love and concern and this will lead onto Environmental Identity for the future

Have a go at this simple EIA Activity as an introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment if you are unsure where to begin

Ive included an example of  EIA and MP MIddlewood Example that as a Forest Schools Leader you might find helpful when processing and completing the Environmental Impact Assessments and Management Plans for your own Forest Schools Programmes

The Management Plans can be thought of as an Action Plan for the Setting and what will be done when, where and how, and by whom. 3 Year Management Plan can look like this though you can organise it in any format that is easily readable and through which you can pass on the information to stakeholders.

 

 

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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

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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Get Children Outdoors

Forest Schools Symposium USA

January 15, 2015

So it’s coming!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phone +44(0)114 2834060 for more information

 

 

 

 

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!