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Wild Service leaves

Forest School Training

Leaves of a Wild Service Tree

New leaders for Forest Schools 

Eight trainees from Corby and around are learning to become Forest School leaders, funded through the Building the Links for Rockingham Forest Project. On this page we explain a bit about Forest School, and describe some of the experiences of the new leaders as they go through the 180 hours of their training.

By Sophie van den Bergh

What is Forest School?

Forest School is a type of outdoor education that aims to develop young people's confidence and self-esteem through hands-on experiences in a natural setting, usually woodlands. 

It is a long-term learning process run by qualified Forest School practitioners and is set apart from other types of outdoor education by its adherence to six principles and its core beliefs about the learning experience. If you wish to know more there is a 5-minute YouTube video available here which provides a quick summary of Forest School.

Forest School aims to foster a child's connection to nature and to provide opportunities for learning about the natural world in a hands-on way that suits many different learners.. It is designed to be child led, with the Forest School leader supporting and scaffolding the child’s learning and interests.

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Don’t forget too, all the fun that can be had as learners develop practical skills, learn to take risks and collaborate with their fellow forest schoolers, all-the while developing personal resilience and an understanding of the natural world.

 

In our area Forest School takes place in a variety of locations; in school grounds, (where the schools we are working with have used our Community Grant to develop their forest school sites), in parish pocket parks and of course in the Ancient Woodlands within Corby and beyond.

The Forest School Association is the professional body supporting Forest School in the UK, and it is this body that, among other things, regulates training and qualifications for potential Forest School Leaders.

About the training

There are various levels of training for those  interested in becoming a Forest School Leader or Assistant. As you would expect the training is very thorough and the course to obtain a level 3 Certificate for Forest School Leaders lasts 180 hours and typically extends over many months.

Eight local trainees have been attending one such training course led by the local provider, Everdon Outdoor Learning Centre

 

The practical initial training was held at Brixworth Country Park and the practical assessment days will be held there too, later in the year.

 

In between the practical days there are many hours of study and delivery of Forest School sessions to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to become a qualified Forest School leader. It’s hard work but rewarding, both for the trainee and those learners who can then benefit from regular Forest School sessions. 

What the trainees say

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One of the trainees, Sami Scott, has written about the training and how it has transformed her thinking - you can read about it here.

I have been using our training twice a week with children in reception/year 1 and  also with year 3/4/5 & 6, - very different age ranges and needs/capabilities. 

We have covered a lot of activities.I have made tree faces, Hapa Zome, a bow saw to make tree cookies, bug hunting, den building,flower planting, stories, marshmallows on the fire and so much more!

Leanne Cloono

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The training is going really well, there’s a lot more content than I first thought but I have enjoyed learning how to care better for our forest through selective species planting, woodland management techniques, ecological assessments and plant/animal identification.

Leanne Cloono

Having just completed the 4 assessment days, I feel so enthused and am looking forward to this week's session. One of the most important things I've learned from applying the training to my Forest School sessions is that sometimes the best thing we can do as practitioners is to step back and observe. This is sometimes quite difficult to do, as we are naturally hands on people - but it allows us to check in on what's working and what isn't, as well as feeding curiosities and blooming interests.

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Contact details

If you live locally and are interested in knowing more about Forest School,  please contact me:  sophie@neneriverstrust.org

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