Forest School Programme

Forest School Curriculum Level 3 Programme
Forest School Programme
Forest School Header

Forest School Programme

The specific objective for the Forest Schools Programme will be to provide opportunities for children, young people and communities (particularly those from socially deprived and segregated areas of the borough) and with different abilities and from different cultures/backgrounds, to explore natural environments, play, learn and socialise together.

For more information and registration:

Expression of Interest applications are now closed

What is the Forest School Programme?

The specific objective for the Forest Schools Programme will be to provide opportunities for children, young people and communities (particularly those from socially deprived and segregated areas of the borough) and with different abilities and from different cultures/backgrounds, to explore natural environments, play, learn and socialise together.

The programme supports outdoor, nature-based learning that focuses on the holistic development of the child/adult, using this medium to support their developmental needs, encourage conversation and build relationships between people in outdoor natural spaces regardless of ability, age or the community in which they live.

  • Providing opportunities for children, young people and communities to explore together and learn about each other through dialogue in outdoor spaces.
  • Promoting and improving the relationships between and across communities through dialogue in a safe alternative and creative space.
  • Enhancing children’s capacity for positive development by giving them access to the broadest range of environments and play opportunities.
  • Using practical and playful activities to encourage children and young people to explore their understanding of difference.

What is the Forest School Programme Aim?

The programme will be open to participants from all communities, though there will be a strong focus on recruiting/inviting participants from marginalised and isolated groups and/or from areas of high deprivation and BME communities across the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area.  Participants will take part in the on-site Forest School Programme of Training and Activities, using some of the Council’s green spaces (Gosford, Oxford Island, Carnagh and Darkley.)

The Forest School uses natural resources for inspiration, to enable ideas and to encourage intrinsic motivation.  The focus will be on promoting positive physical and mental health and wellbeing and provide opportunities for all participants of the programme to take part in activities designed to raise awareness and facilitate organic dialogue; this is done through delivery of the programme in green and woodland environments.

Adult participants will undertake training to enable them to support the delivery of the forest schools programme over a number months.  Adult dialogue will be encouraged through the training and delivery of the Forest School Curriculum Level 3 learning, which will be facilitated by qualified Forest School tutors, and will include practical hands-on learning in an outdoor environment.

Is there any prerequisites for the programme?

  • Participants must be 21 years of age or over.
  • Participants should NOT have previously participated in a PEACE IV programme or been part of a similar funded programme.
  • All participants must be resident in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area.
  • Hold a current enhanced Access NI certificate (this must be in place prior to the commencement of activities involving children and young people.
  • Hold a current and valid First Aid certificate (minimum 2-day Outdoor First Aid or 2-day Paediatric First Aid) or complete either prior to the end of the project.
  • Be a qualified teacher, play-worker, youth-worker or support worker (to level 2 or equivalent) OR compile a portfolio of at least 2 years experience of working with your chosen client group in a leadership capacity.
  • Ability to use Word competently and have access to a laptop.

When does the Forest School programme take place?

The Forest School programme will run from January to June 2020, supporting participants to build meaningful and sustainable relationships.

Training time and dates:

08:45am – 17:30pm:  30th and 31st January, 1st and 2nd February 2020.

Topics covered:

  • History and Development of Forest School
  • Study of the Forest School Principles
  • Introduction to practical skills (knots and rope use; tool use; natural crafts; shelters and dens; fire lighting and cooking)
  • Appropriate learning theory (including the theories of Developmental Movement Play, Building Learning Power and Risky Play)
  • Understanding play
  • The value of nature in children’s learning
  • How to write a Benefit Risk Assessment.

08:45am – 17:30pm:  6th, 7th, 8th and 9th March 2020.

Topics covered:

  • Completion and assessment of practical skills (knots and rope use; tool use; natural crafts; shelters and dens; fire lighting and cooking)
  • How to write a Site Risk Assessment
  • Policy and Procedure writing
  • Environmental and sustainability planning
  • Planning and Delivery of a Forest School Programme
  • Observation
  • Reflection and Assessment of children’s play
  • Nature connection.

Self-directed learning with online support: 10th March – 5th April 2020 (Completion of the Forest School handbook).

Topics covered

  • Policies and procedures necessary for safe practice at Forest School,
  • Benefit Risk Assessments necessary for safe practice about Forest School
  • Upon passing this component of the course the students can move on to their own Forest School practice sessions (the pilot).

Part of your training includes the development and delivery of Forest School activities.

20th April 2020 – 26th June 2020.  (Timeframe may be extended.)

Topics covered:

  • Adult participants will deliver the Forest School pilot project – A minimum of 10 sessions or 26hours of forest schools activity sessions (practical application of skills and knowledge taught) with cohort of children / young people.
  • Support is provided by tutors during the onsite mentoring and underpinned by the Forest School handbook;
  • Exploration of learned theory and how it relates to own practice
  • Observations of children’s play and planning sessions based on those observations
  • Students write summaries of the progress the children make at their Forest School.
  • Evaluation of own journey at Forest School.

08:45am-17:30pm:     20th and 21st June 2020.  Closing weekend and Celebration Event.

Topics Covered:

  • Revision of practical skills
  • Revision of Forest School ethos and theory
  • Reflection and evaluation of own practice
  • Preparation for Celebration event to which all stakeholders are invited.
  • Prepare and collaborate on the running of a shared celebration using the skills they have learned on the course.
  • Certificates of completion.

How much does the programme cost?

The programme, including all workshops and events, are completely FREE of charge.

We are investing in you, as we anticipate that the forest school programme can be developed and delivered beyond the life of this programme.  This will enable the continued relationship-building between communities and year-round contact in the borough’s areas of woodland and conservation natural spaces.  This course is provided free of charge (the cost of this course is approximately £1200.00, so it is a substantial investment). If you are selected and are then unable to take part, please let us know 7 days prior to commencement, so that we are able to offer this opportunity to other interested person(s).

How do I register for the programme?

If you would like to be considered as a participant, please complete the Expression of Interest form in full.  Subject to the requirements of PEACE IV, the information provided will be used in the selection of participants.  Please note that there are a limited number of places available on this programme.

The selection panel will consider:

  • Community background. (PEACE IV Cross Community requirements)
  • Willingness and capacity to commit and participate in the entire programme.
  • Demonstration of your general interest in the topic, and your reason/s for wanting to take part.
  • How your participation will benefit others and how you intend to share the learning gained through participation in the programme.

Cross-community targets will be built into the programme’s overall participant profile.  Selection will be at the discretion of the Panel.

This document outlines the full detail of the programme.  It is advised that prospective applicants read the document in full to get a full understanding of the programme which will allow them to fully complete the Expression of Interest Form.

Expressions of Interest Forms should be completed and forwarded to no later than 12 noon on Friday, 10 January 2020.

What is the Peace IV Programme?

The PEACE IV Programme is a cross-border initiative, financed through the European Union and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). It has been designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland. In addition to supporting peace and reconciliation, the Programme also contributes to the promotion of social and economic stability, in particular through actions to promote cohesion between communities.

Our programmes are about bringing people and communities together and providing opportunities to engage within and across communities through a series of projects, activities and events.