Three Education Officers from Forestry Commission Wales have visited Sweden to find out how best practice from Scandinavia can be incorporated into woodland-based learning in Wales.
Carol Travers, Amy Phillips and Karen Clarke from the Woodlands for Learning team spent four days in Lidingo, Sweden.
They took part in an outdoor education course run by Friluftsframjandet, an organisation that promotes an outdoor lifestyle from an early age, and observed practice in three "Rain or Shine" nurseries for two to six year olds.
Karen Clarke, Education Officer, said, "We wanted to see if Sweden was as advanced in its outdoor education as we had assumed and to find out if there is anything we could improve on in our delivery of Forest School programmes, teacher training and school visits.
"We learnt a lot from our visit - for example, we saw that the education culture is very different there as children are out all day in all weathers, immersed in nature and directing their own learning.
"We will share what we learnt with colleagues and make adjustments to how we deliver visits in Wales so that our knowledge can benefit those using woodlands as an outdoor learning environment here.
"We hope to maintain our links with Sweden to continue to learn from them and exchange good practice in the future and we are looking forward to welcoming representatives from the "Rain or Shine" nursery to our Forest School conference in October."
The Woodlands for Learning team delivers woodland visits to over 20,000 children a year as well as delivering a number of Forest School programmes, Level 3 Practitioner courses and supporting teachers through varied training sessions.
Woodland visits are free to schools in Wales and all the activities are planned, risk assessed and led by Forestry Commission Wales Education Officers. Most topics can be covered and all age ranges are catered for. Activities can be tailored to meet a group’s theme and follow the seasons.
Forest School is an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults, regular opportunities to achieve, and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in a local woodland environment. A Forest School group visits the same local woodland site on a regular basis throughout the year.
To find out more about woodland based learning experiences throughout Wales, contact one of the Education Officers who are listed on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales.
Notes to Editors
Woodlands for Learning team
The Woodlands for Learning team delivers woodland based learning experiences throughout Wales, supports the development and delivery of Forest School and facilitates the Forest Education Initiative on behalf of its partners.
Forestry Commission Wales
About 14% of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.
Forestry Commission Wales provides advice on forestry policy to the Minister responsible for forestry. It provides grant aid to the private sector and regulates forestry by issuing felling licences.
Forestry Commission Wales is also part of Forestry Commission GB and contributes to the international forestry agenda.
More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on www.forestry.gov.uk/wales
Press office contact: Mary Galliers, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0300 068 0057.