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Forest Schools in Birmingham
A Birmingham Forest Education Initiative Cluster Group (part of a national FEI umbrella group) formed in May 2004 with the aim of promoting and supporting Forest School in Birmingham.
The group aims to:
provide safe opportunities for young people develop personal, social and physical skills through active learning and play in a stimulating natural environment.
Improve concentration, behaviour and interest in learning that can be transferred back into the classroom.
Increase understanding of care and concern for the environment.
Train teachers, classroom assistants, parents and helpers who can sustain Forest School programmes and philosophy in the long term.
The founding partners included Birmingham City Council (Ranger Service - Parks Sports and Events and Study Support), Groundwork Birmingham and CSV Environment. New members are joining all the time.
Birmingham Parks Ranger Service have trained Forest School leaders at various sites across the city.
The rangers are not only interested in delivering Forest School programmes at their sites but also in offering advice and training to enable others to run Forest School in their own settings.
They also have rangers who are trained as Forest School Assistants who help to support the delivery of Forest School programmes.
The aims of Forest Schools In Birmingham:
The Ranger Service supports Birmingham FEI Cluster Groups vision for Forest Schools - that within the next ten to fifteen years, every child and young person in Birmingham will have access to at least one Forest School programme as part of their formal education. We aim to this by:
Supporting every School and Early Years Setting in Birmingham to access an established, accredited Forest Schools programme in their locality.
Supporting the outcomes of Every Child Matters.
Engaging parents, families and local communities in Forest Schools programmes.
Having a positive impact on children and young peoples understanding and care of their environment.
Working with other organisations to achieve these aims
The outcomes for Forest School in Birmingham fit perfectly with Every Child Matters and also contribute to meeting Agenda 21 sustainability targets.
Children and young people attending Forest Schools in Birmingham will:
Enjoy and achieve
Make a positive contribution.
Achieve economic well-being.
Learn to live sustainably
What happens in a Forest School?
A typical programme involves the FEI recognised Forest School leader initially talking to teachers, parents and carers to explain about Forest School and the sort of activities the participants will be doing. Any adults involved would be invited to visit an FEI recognised Forest School site.
An appropriate local site is found, woodland areas are ideal. A risk assessment of the site is carried out by a qualified leader, to ensure the site is safe for the children and adults to visit. The Forest School leaders get to know the participants and gain their confidence before taking them to the Forest School site, for example by leading activities at the childrens usual educational setting for one or two sessions.
The group (typically up to 12) visit the same local site on a regular basis (once a week or fortnightly) ideally throughout the year, but not less than six weeks (except in extreme conditions.) Each session is learner-led, based on the skills and needs of that group.
Games are played and small achievable tasks are set, such as hide and seek, building shelters, learning how to use appropriate tools.
The participants learn basic woodland skills as a method to try and boost their self-confidence and raise their self-esteem.
The participants learn to use natural materials and develop practical and intellectual skills, which call be linked with the National Curriculum. How to find out more.
To find out more about Forest Schools in Birmingham's parks you can talk to your localRanger Service
To find out more about who delivers Forest School sessions and training in Birmingham FEI cluster group