If you are passionate about the nature and want to be associated with it, there is a career ahead for you. This career is about educating children and adults in the natural surroundings. The career is truly unique: it allows you to expose your pupils to the elements of nature for their overall development.
There is no substitute to nature as the learning medium. The career allows learning in situ through interesting and amazingly simple means. There is no need for glossy books to feel and understand about flowers, birds, trees and different forms of wildlife. You need not implant ideas about environment and nature superficially!
The surroundings being natural, generally a woodland environment, there is no need to show artificially colored books and pictures to children to understand colors. The career that allows this environment to children is the environment of Forest Schools. In the UK, Forest Schools have been operating for quite sometime with great success.
Children experiencing cooking at Forest School in woodland.
(Courtesy: Archimedes Forest Schools Education, UK; Copyright: Archimedes)
Forest Schools in UK :
Forest Schools are a wonderful concept which has been in practice in the UK for last several years now. Forest Schools developed in the UK in mid 1990s.
The first schools in woodland came into existence at Scandinavia in 1950s where it was believed that children in early childhood needed nature to learn.
The concept of schools in woodland was imported to the UK by a faculty of Bridgwater College at Somerset. While on a visit to Scandinavia in 1995, the group was impressed by children in Scandinavia learning in natural environment.
The Scandinavian concept imported to the UK flourished as 'Forest Schools' and these were, very soon, credited with holistic development of children.
Several studies and reviews of Forest Schools proved their usefulness and value in the children as well as to the adult education about environment. Forest Education Initiative (FEI) of UK was greatly beneficial in promotion of the Forest School concept.
A star institution that developed in the meanwhile in the UK and took Forest School concept to a greater height was a company called Archimedes Training which was established by an environment educator, Sarah Blackwell.
Sarah Blackwell is by herself a Forest School educator. Her organization, Archimedes has been greatly responsible for giving a new direction to Forest School concept globally by establishing the company's various brands, such as 'Forest Schools', 'Beach Schools' and 'Bush Schools'.
Archimedes 'Forest Schools Education' incorporates a very in-depth and high quality curriculum for training of Forest School educators and practitioners.
Archimedes syllabus covers approaches derived from all possible areas, be it education, social sciences or biology, to make her Forest School education truly unique.
Archimedes syllabus covers developments in education theories, environmental science, conservation, ecology, environment and the evolution.
The concept that the nature is in an immediate need of every human being for the overall or holistic development is built in the syllabus of Archimedes training programs.
Forest Schools have a Woodland Setting :
Forest Schools are normally established in a woodland setting with few or more trees. The site is adequately prepared and managed for the safety of children.
Children studying in normal schools visit Forest Schools at regular intervals, over a period of time, preferably covering all seasons. The longer the duration of the course, the better it is for children's development.
In the Forest School, children are exposed to special methodologies involving observation and assessment and opportunity to learn according to their interests. Special methodologies allow them to learn far more deeply; the entire experience has a very positive impact on children's overall development.