The Forestry Commission Scotland offers training for early years’ staff in developing forest kindergartens. The training consists of a one day taster course for Heads and Managers of nurseries and a three day training course for nursery teachers and early years practitioners.
One Day Taster Course – The taster course gives promoted staff an introduction to the philosophy of Forest Kindergartens, an opportunity to consider controlled risk taking and discussion of the value of learning in nature using natural materials in woodlands or other green spaces. The content of the course consistently refers to the Early Years Framework and Curriculum for Excellence. This course gives promoted staff the opportunity to consider their role in supporting staff in developing forest kindergartens and sharing information with parents and the wider community. Part of the day is held indoors and the remainder outdoors.
Three Day Course – This course is designed to support staff in embedding forest kindergarten as part of their Pre-Birth to Three and Curriculum for Excellence practice. The course gives staff the opportunity to share their hopes and concerns, discuss controlled risk taking and understand how this approach embraces the Rights of The Child. Participants learn about the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, challenging outdoor experiences that can be offered and ways that the Curriculum for Excellence supports experiential outdoor learning. The course gives staff a theoretical overview and the opportunity to engage in practical outdoor activities. Staff also visit an established forest kindergarten and discuss practice with staff who have completed the course and are now experienced forest kindergarten leaders. Part of the course gives staff opportunities to consider responsive planning approaches and ways in which woodland experiences can impact on indoor practice and the nursery outdoor environment.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the past three days. All my inhibitions and fears about taking children off site are well and truly gone. The course was delivered to a very high standard and I know I’ve learned a lot”
“I was not really a fan of getting outdoors and getting dirty but now I understand the benefits it has for the children and I am motivated and excited to get started”
Forestry Commission Scotland Support – Forestry Commission Scotland offers this course to all staff delivering the curriculum for Excellence at the Early Level in nurseries and schools. Ongoing on-site support continues from FCS to assist staff in identifying suitable woodland or green space and involve staff teams, parents and carers and the local community. FCS can also participate alongside staff to support them in developing the quality of their session. Each participant receives a training pack and pen drive loaded with essential information. This includes awareness raising materials and activities to engage children, staff, parents, carers, and the local community.
A new Training for Trainers course is being prepared so that existing forest kindergarten leaders can deliver training alongside forestry commission staff within their own local authorities. North Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire staff are currently co-presenting the 3 day course.
There is an opportunity for staff to continue developing their knowledge and skills through supplementary courses lasting one and a half days each to learn how to use ropes, fire and tools. In future a course on The Pedagogy of Forest Kindergartens will be offered
Forest Family Bags are also being created to support families using woodlands with their children and a Transition pilot programme is about to be developed to support the continuation of forest kindergarten into primary one.
For further information on any of the above please contact: Marian Cairns, Acting Central Scotland Education Officer, Central Scotland Conservancy Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01698 368553, Mob: 07747474790