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Forest school for the forest school untrained!

Discussion in 'Primary' started by modgepodge, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. modgepodge

    modgepodge Occasional commenter

    So, I'm due to start my first NQT post in a Y1 class in January. The school is very big on forest school - the kids do a half day every week. Now whilst I love the idea, I am not a forest school leader and have never even been to a forest school. The teacher I am taking over from, and the one in the other Y1 class, are both forest school leaders, and so do things like using tools, making fires etc with them. I'm really worried that my class are going to miss out, as I won't be able to do as many things. Worse still, they've had a whole term of doing those things and will now have to stop!
    Anyone know how difficult/expensive it is to get training in forest school leadership? Obviously I will ask this at school too but - what AM I allowed to do with them out there??
     
  2. modgepodge

    modgepodge Occasional commenter

    So, I'm due to start my first NQT post in a Y1 class in January. The school is very big on forest school - the kids do a half day every week. Now whilst I love the idea, I am not a forest school leader and have never even been to a forest school. The teacher I am taking over from, and the one in the other Y1 class, are both forest school leaders, and so do things like using tools, making fires etc with them. I'm really worried that my class are going to miss out, as I won't be able to do as many things. Worse still, they've had a whole term of doing those things and will now have to stop!
    Anyone know how difficult/expensive it is to get training in forest school leadership? Obviously I will ask this at school too but - what AM I allowed to do with them out there??
     
  3. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    http://www.blurb.com/books/879111?ce=blurb_ew
    http://www.blurb.com/books/742798?ce=blurb_ew

    I've gone blank on the name of the company we did our forest school training with but will post when I dig it out
     
  4. greta444

    greta444 New commenter

    I'm not forest school trained but I am a teacher which in my opinion makes me more than qualified to lead forest school activities. We have made fires, cooked on them, made dens, mud sculptures etc. Excellent fun, rain or shine. Just make extra sure the children and other adults are aware of the safety considerations. Youmayhave to do a risk assessment depending on your activity although we have made a generic one covering the whole school and all possible activities.
    Just go ahead with it and have fun
     
  5. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  6. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I totally understand your concerns. Would I want to allow my class to make a fire? Errrrrr not without some training thank you! Our HT is keen for the school to be in the local paper as much as possible, but possibly not for setting fire to half the county!

    If it was me (and I'd be nervous, though excited!) I would ask if the other year 1 teacher can come with me for a few weeks, and me go with her. Also ask that the TAs you take will be ones confident enough to lead the activities for a few sessions, while showing you what to do (and without making you feel a total numpty of course!).

    Definitely don't pay out for training yourself, you won't get it done before term starts anyway. Ask for support from your new school. Email the other year 1 teacher and/or your mentor and say how you feel, just copy and paste your post from here.

    But try to be excited more than scared, it will be fun!
     
  7. modgepodge

    modgepodge Occasional commenter

    Well I don't know about you but my PGCE certainly didn't train me in how to safely have a fire with 30 5 year olds running around [​IMG] I'd be happy with making dens, mud sculputures etc, but when I asked at school how it worked I was told (vaguely) "Oh well you won't be able to do things like tools and fires. Just make sure you do a risk assessment and don't let them do anything you're not happy with." I also have no idea how to do a risk assessment?? I did used to help run a guide unit, and went on many camps - to be honest we were always paranoid about letting the 10-14 year old Guides near the fire let alone 5 year olds!! Too worried about getting sued if something goes wrong I guess.
    Thanks to whoever suggested going out with the other Y1 teacher a few times - I will see if I can do this. Only problem is I think there's only enough waterproofs for 30 kids so it's hard to have 2 classes out at once, and obv I'd normally be teaching when the other class goes out. Still, I shall ask - perhaps my NQT time may co-incide with reception going out or something.
    I'm just finding it hard to work out the balance - obviously I don't want the kids in danger in any way, nor to leave myself open to allegations of neglect or anything, but also don't want to be too overprotective and stop them enjoying themselves and getting as much as they can out of the time.
     
  8. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Firstly you don't let them run around when you are making a fire or have a fire.
    You sit them all down at a safe distance preferably marked out before hand.Make sure the fire is out before leaving it unattended -pretty obvious sorry
    A fire bowl can contain everything
     
  9. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Then you need to talk to your mentor. It is her job to teach you these things. Seriously, don't go out without one, it isn't worth it. But they aren't hard, you will soon be able to knock them out in 5 mins if your school is anything like mine.

    I meant for someone to cover your class while you go out and watch. You definitely shouldn't feel you have to take your class out of school by yourself in your first week. Give it a few months and you will be as relaxed and laid back as posters on here who have done forest school. But for now, be happy about saying that you need help or the DH to go with you or something.

    You do need to be a bit clear about what is and is not normally allowed. You will be a new teacher and an NQT, your class will try it on and you need to be confident about saying yes and no. Are they normally allowed to climb trees? Go out of your immediate sight? Pick up bugs? Pick up dead birds? All are things some people would say yes and some no. Your last paragraph shows you know what is what and that you will be fine, but ask the other year one teacher and your mentor before you venture out.
     
  10. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    If your school does forest school regularly there should already be a risk assessment just familiarise yourself with the content
     
  11. modgepodge

    modgepodge Occasional commenter

    Thanks all :) Perhaps I should have mentioned - the forest school site is on school grounds which I think simplifies things somewhat. We're in on the Wed for INSET, kids back Thurs, they'd normally do forest school on Monday. I don't think I want to take them out that first Monday by myself :S I don't have a TA on Mondays either....so I'm not sure if it's just me that takes them out or what. I will see if we can go out as a year group that time so I can see how it normally works. I'm just panicking cos in my experience as soon as you take a class out of the classroom even for PE or something the nicest children in the world become little monsters and talk when they should be listening, don't do as they're asked straight away etc. I'm just picturing that, with them climbing trees, fires and tools around and general mayhem!!!
     
  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  13. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I think you are getting in a huge panic over something that will probably end up being the highlight of your week. I can sympathise as I would be as well in your position.

    Soooo calm down and think this through.

    You are sensible to decide that there is no forest school on the first Monday back because you need to get to know who is who and what is what first. Parents will understand that, just put up a sign where parents collect their children and send a note in book bags to that effect. Sorted.

    This gives you a week and a half to ask for everything you need and work with the other teacher to plan your first session. If you ask in the first short week back, it should be possible for you to go and observe other groups there and see what happens.

    Now stop worrying, put away all work until at least the 27th and relax and enjoy Christmas. You will be fab!
     
  14. Hi guys, I am a student in my final year of a Foundation Degree in Outdoor Leisure Management, and I am currently conducting a research project. This project is aiming to examine and discuss whether or not forest school programmes are beneficial to the learning developments of primary aged children.
    Below are the links to two short surveys, the first being for the schools that use forest school programmes, and the second for schools which don't. If you could spare a few minutes of your time to complete the appropriate survey about your school, this would be much appreciated and a massive help. P.S. all answers are confidential :)
    Hollielou.
    First survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/57THMYX

    Second survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/6PB76RL
     
  15. zannar

    zannar New commenter

    One of our teachers did the training and then came back and informed us that the training could not be cascaded down and we could not undertake any forest school activities ourselves!
     
  16. Hello All
    Forest Schools is not simply outdoor education, Forest Schools use regular, long term programmes in natural areas for personal, social and emotional development in children and young adults as well as promoting respect for heritage and nature. It is run by professionally trained and assessed Forest Schools Practitioners who use play, Bush skills such as fire lighting and wood craft in a learner led environment where the journey creates its own rewards.
    For those that think you can run Forest Schools without training then you are wrong! In order to fully make use of the concept of Forest Schools (which originated in scandinavia) then you need to understand the whole philosophy and ethos of it - as well as be suitable trained to lead sessions that involve knives, axes, saws, fires etc.
    For those that would simply like to get their pupils outdoors I would recommend a more general course (which is often cheaper) such as a Certificate in Outdoor Learning (http://www.archimedes-training.co.uk/certificate-in-outdoor-learning.php) however, if you can get the funding to implement Forest Schools projects then definetly get involved! It recently featured on BBC news recently too...
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-17283190
     

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