April Newsletter

Welcome to Birchwood Learning’s E-Newsletter. Hope you are full of the joys of spring, the sun is shining (well some of the time!), the primroses and daffodils are blooming and the birds are singing their hearts out! We’ve been busy out and about running training in Norfolk, Devon and Hampshire, meeting some lovely people who [...]

Welcome to Birchwood Learning’s E-Newsletter. Hope you are full of the joys of spring, the sun is shining (well some of the time!), the primroses and daffodils are blooming and the birds are singing their hearts out! We’ve been busy out and about running training in Norfolk, Devon and Hampshire, meeting some lovely people who also like playing in the woods!

Seasonal Stories Update
Spring-time facts, folklore and stories are now uploaded to our website. Take a look here.

We have a new Email address
Please update your records, the computer gremlins have been up to mischief and so we’ve changed our email address to – birchwoodlearning@gmail.com

Forest School Conference 2012Have you booked your place yet? Norfolk Forest School Conference
Holt Hall Tuesday 7th May 2013
Don’t forget to book your place to attend the first ever Norfolk Forest School Conference coming up this spring! The day will be a chance to celebrate local Forest School practice, network with likeminded people, participate in hands-on practical workshops and share practice on key themes. The keynote speaker is Professor Tony Booth from Cambridge University – who will be speaking about how ‘inclusion’ (in his terms – the uniqueness of individuals and how we collaborate and cooperate) is crucial to school/setting improvement and how his work shares tangible links to the philosophy of Forest School. Booking closes at the end of the month – so do book soon to avoid disappointment! Check out our conference website here.

government_teachingCurriculum Review – Gove is planning to drop ‘learning about caring for the environment’ from English school teaching
As I’m sure you are aware, the current government is reviewing the national curriculum and currently consulting about this. Environmentalists and educationalists alike are raising concerns about some of the content missing in the Science and Geography sections. In science the current criteria of learning ‘to care for the environment’ (KS1) and ‘ways government_teaching_02in which living things and the environment need protection’ (KS2) have been dropped. The revised curriculum is suggesting that in year 4 students should “recognise that environments are constantly changing and that this can sometimes pose dangers to specific habitats.” The Wildlife Trusts are heading a campaign to ask people to comment on the new curriculum to try and reinstall the importance of environmental awareness and sustainability. Find out more here – comment quickly as the deadline for the consultation is 16th April! Also in Geography, the proposals are to remove any references to climate change in Key stages 1- 3. The Guardian has published a few stories on this and also educationalist, environmentalist and young people have started petitions – so take action and sign up, together change can happen!

Calling any Level 1 Practitioners who would like to top up their Forest School training in Norfolk?
We currently have a modular FS training course taking place in Norwich (Catton Park). The first module has taken place earlier this month, however if people have done Level 1 training already there is still time for them to ‘top-up’ to Level 2 or Level 3. The 2nd module is on 29th and 30th April. To top up to Level 2 it will cost £320 (normal price for Level 2 is £550) and to top up to Level 3 it will cost £750 (normal price is £900). Please view details of other dates for the Level 3 modules on my website here or contact us for further details.

CPD training for Forest School Leaders – Advanced FS Tool Use Award
The Forest School Training Company is pleased to announce the launch of the first accredited CPD training courses in the UK specifically designed for Forest School Leaders and Assistants. The first course of the series ‘Advanced Forest School – Tool Use’ is designed to build on the introduction to tool use during initial Forest School training. The two day accredited course will;

  • Advance practitioners skills and confidence using hand tools.
  • Increase knowledge about tool function, process, range and maintenance.
  • Introduce new tools and techniques, including; augers and drills, knife sharpening, using wedges, safe bracing of work, finishing techniques.
  • Develop understanding of wood as a craft material to work with.the_faraway_tree
  • Consider how to effectively support tool users during Forest School, including trouble shooting.
  • Provide a framework to support progression in learners’ tool skills at Forest School.
  • Provide a multitude of ideas of items to make using natural materials.

There are two courses currently planned:

  • 11th and 12th May 2013 – Itchen Valley Country Park, Hampshire
  • 10th and 11th June 2013 – Holt Hall, Norfolk

Please view further details on the Forest School Training Co. website here.

The Farawaytree Festival, 18th May 2013 at Ringsfield Hall, Suffolk
A day for families to play together at the fantastic Ringsfield Hall Ecocentre, near Beccles!.

forest_school_associationForest School Association (FSA) Update
As you are no doubt aware, the FSA is relatively new as an organisation (launched last July) but it is quickly growing. The FSA aims to promote and celebrate quality Forest School for all! The FSA will be facilitating a national Forest School conference on the weekend of 12th and 13th October 2013 in the Lake District. Tim Gill (writer on risk-taking in childhood and FSA patron) will be one of the keynote speakers. So do save the date! Further details will be announced soon. The FSA will be making a push on publicity after Easter holidays to correspond with the launch of its new website. In the interim it has a temporary website found here.

forest_education_networkForest Education Network (FEN) has a New Website
The FEN (the successor network to FEI – Forest Education Initiative) has launched its new website within the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom website (FEN is run by CLOtC). Do take a peek at the new site by following the link above!

houghton_hall‘Houghton Revisited’ – One in a lifetime exhibition at Houghton Hall, Norfolk
For many years we have had close links with the inspiring Houghton Estate, and often run training from their woodland and grounds. This year the estate is hitting the headlines with a once in a lifetime exhibition ‘Houghton Revisited’. The magnificent art collection of Great Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, sold to Catherine the Great to adorn the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, will be reassembled in its spectacular original setting of Houghton Hall for the first time in over 200 years. ‘Houghton Revisited’ runs from 17th May – 29th September 2013 and is a unique opportunity to view one of the most famous art collections of eighteenth-century Europe. So if you are of an Artistic disposition – this is an unmissable opportunity! Find out more by visiting Houghton’s website here.

catton_parkPlaces we Like – Catton Park, Norwich
Catton Park is a 70 acre green space in the outskirts of Norwich. The park consists of open grassland, woodland and a couple of ponds, with the landscape originally being designed by Humphry Repton in the late 1700’s. The park is managed by a charitable trust and has recently had an education building constructed to encourage educational visits of all kinds. If you are in the Norwich area, why not take a walk in this green urban oasis and check it out!

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Don’t forget to check www.birchwoodlearning.com for forthcoming Forest School and nature based outdoor learning training.