Monday, January 5, 2015

Forest School Paperwork

I finished correcting the Forest School paperwork.  Why does Forest School require writing? Some friends are asking and here is the response.

Forest School training is not only about how to work and play with children in a natural environment but much more.  It includes teaching children to assess and manage risks, so they can benefit from outdoor experiences.  The course is a guide to start our own Forest School, and therefore includes developing policies and procedures, elaborating a communication strategy, and defining a Forest School handbook.  As practitioners we study (or review) different styles of learning as well as barriers to learning.  The course includes forest management, site ecological impact, as well as local flora and fauna.  We learn to undertake a formative and a summative evaluation.  The course expects us to plan and execute six sessions, that include several areas: learning goals, planned experiences and alternate plans, observations, evaluation, resources, and considerations for the following sessions.  Each session needs to have a site risk assessment, an activity risk assessment, and a risk benefit assessment.  Finally, practitioners are competent to share life skills such as to use a sharp knife, a bow saw, a hatchet; how to light fire and cook on it; how to build shelters; and how to tie knots for different uses.  And finally, a Forest School guide models how to respect nature, to leave the natural site as found, and how to be thankful for the opportunity to experience it.

Here is a 4 minute video of the skills I practiced with a group of children.

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