After years of working with children and teenagers Ian has formalised that experience by training for, and achieving the qualification of Level 3 Forest School practitioner.
Forest School is a successful ethos for learning born out of Scandinavia in the 1950s and arriving in this country in the mid 1990s. Although initially, and traditionally, utilised with Early Years and Primary School students, whilst working with and training under Sarah Robertshaw of Step-out, Ian observed the notable success achieved with older students.
The 6 guiding principles
Agreed by the Forest School community in 2011:
- Forest School is a long-term process of frequent and regular sessions in a woodland or natural environment, rather than a one-off visit. Planning, adaptation, observations and reviewing are integral elements of Forest School.
- Forest School takes place in a woodland or natural wooded environment to support the development of a relationship between the learner and the natural world.
- Forest School aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent and creative learners.
- Forest School offers learners the opportunity to take supported risks appropriate to the environment and to themselves.
- Forest School is run by qualified Forest School practitioners who continuously maintain and develop their professional practice.
- Forest School uses a range of learner-centred processes to create a community for development and learning.
These principles, criteria for good practice and more information on Forest Schools are available on the Forest School Association website.
The Forest School Experience
Ian has extended his Forest School experience through long term working with students who have, what has become called, special needs. Comments made by students, teachers and parents stand testimony to the students experiences and learning.
"I don’t know what you do with F on a Wednesday
but all she wants to do is talk about her time in the woods"
- Parent of a student with speech and mobility difficulties.
"… has not engaged in class since the holidays,
not behaving badly just not engaging.
Today in the woods has seen a massive change…."
"B struggles with retention of information,
three weeks into the programme B now remembers how to tie a timber hitch"
- Personal Observation
"Some of our students went on a school trip to France along with
some other schools. One of the activities was shelter building in the woods.
All of our students had the knowledge and confidence to take the lead
in their respective groups’"
"Im glad we are coming to the woods again next term"
Bringing Bushcraft to your school
There are many other testimonies with regard to students teamwork, improved resilience, willingness to learn back in the classroom, and there are countless ‘little moments’ where students gain understanding, receive inspiration or simply just have fun!
If you wish Forest School to be part of your students learning experience then contact Lonescout Bushcraft for more information.