We are always inspired by the benefits that connecting to nature can bring us, not only in terms of learning, but also to our physical and mental wellbeing. Participation in Forest School helps develop lifelong wellbeing and resilience practices that can support individuals with strategies to thrive and cope with stress and anxiety. Learning in nature also enables participants to connect with a sense of place and community, and empowers participants to become mentors and nature guardians.
There is something unquantifiable that happens to us when we go to the woods. Research is increasingly pointing towards the benefits of time in wild spaces for children’s learning and wellbeing. In his book The Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv coined the phrase ‘nature deficit disorder’ to describe how humans, especially children, are spending less time in nature and the negative consequence that this is having. At the same time as we are beginning to value these benefits, opportunities for playing in wild spaces are becoming less accessible, reminding us again as educators why learning in nature is so vital for children.
Locating learning in a natural outdoor setting facilitates the development of a relationship between the learner and nature. From this relationship emerges unique contexts for learning that support risky play and opportunities to learn new skills. Nature has a way of teaching us the natural consequences of our actions. If you put your rain jacket at the bottom of your pack, you’re going to get wet when it begins to rain!
As educators, it is important that we tend to our own nature connection practice so that we might share it with others. On this course, participants will learn simple ways to build nature connection which they can easily introduce to their daily class routine. Over recent months, many of us have had cause to connect with our local wild spaces and see with fresh eyes the intrinsic value of nature, especially for learning and wellbeing. We wonder if nature might play a role to support us as we adjust to the new learning landscape. Developing a programme for learning in nature can be as simple as making the decision to get outdoors daily with your class and connect with nature.
This Introduction to Forest School for Educators is an opportunity to experience the principles of Forest School in a fun and embodied way. This course is suitable for educators with an interest in taking learning outdoors and linking outdoor learning activities to the Curriculum through literacy and numeracy opportunities afforded by Forest School. Some of the topics, skills and questions which we will explore on this course include;
Maura Brennan is a Forest School facilitator at Slí na Coille, Kilkenny Forest School, and founder of The Acorn Project, a Community Seedsaving and Forest School programme for Primary schools. Darach Ó Murchú works in environmental, outdoor and nature education as a teacher of wild food foraging courses (specialising in seaweed), is a leader of nature walks, a Leave No Trace Outdoor Ethics trainer and a facilitator of Wildcraft and Forest School programmes.
|Course date||05-07-2021 9:30 am|
|Course End Date||09-07-2021 2:00 pm|
|Registration Start Date||20-05-2021 4:00 pm|
|Cut off date||02-07-2021 12:00 pm|
|Speaker||Darach Ó Murchú and Maura Brennan, Forest School Facilitators|
|Location||Jenkinstown Wood, Co. Kilkenny|