Your questions answered...
Who is the training suitable for?
huathe trains a wide variety of people to be Forest School Leaders. Many of our participants work in schools or nurseries – as teachers, early years practitioners or Learning Support Assistants – and many more are in the environmental education field. We also train individuals who are looking for a change in their career path and are keen to be working outdoors after school or with bushcraft groups.
You will need to be over 21, with at least 2 years of experience of working with children and to hold a Level 2 certificate in child care or youth work (or to have at least 2 years experience of working with children and a letter of recommendation from a teacher, playleader or nursery manager), or Qualified Teacher Status.
How much work does the course entail?
The whole course takes about 9 months to complete. Over that time you practise and write up the skills you learn on the course; build up a Forest School handbook of policies and risk assessments; do some research into the history or Forest School, education theory and how to work in an environmentally sustainable way and organise and run your own Forest School that you will write up. We are with you along the way and support you through our teaching and guidance.
What will I learn?
We teach a mixture of theory and practical skills that will be the bedrock of your practice when you are a Forest School leader: how to work with sharp tools; how to light a fire when it’s raining; how and when to put up a rope swing; how to take risks and stay safe, and how to see the learning going on when children are playing.
We do different activities that will highlight the connection between nature, play and well-being and give you real life opportunities to try out that connection – we call it experiential learning.
What can I do once I have the qualification?
Forest School leaders work through schools, nurseries, outdoor education centres or independently. Once you are qualified you will be able to take groups of children or adults outdoors and support them in the play and exploration – using the right skill when and where it is needed. We cover everything you need to know to get started – from where to buy your ropes to making sure you have the right insurance; from how to source wood to getting those policies in place; from understanding why children want to play in the mud to good ways of getting them clean again!
What is the pilot?
Everyone who trains as a Forest School Leader runs a Forest School programme as part of their training. You find and assess woodland, and plan and deliver forest school sessions that are based on your observations of the children. You write this up and it forms part of your assessment.
Who recognises the qualification?
The Forest School Leadership Qualification is accredited by the Open College Network as a Level 3 Qualification. Most UK providers use the same accreditation and through the Forest School Association you become part of a national group dedicated to supporting children’s outdoor play and learning.