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The woods around Capel Curig near Conwy will become an outdoor training ground next month for people who want to use woodlands as a stimulating learning environment for children and young people.
Members of the Forestry Commission Wales Woodlands for Learning (WfL) team will be holding a Forest School Leader training course in the woods and other locations around the village with the first five-day element running between May 10 and May 14.
The concept of Forest School was introduced to Wales ten years ago and since then the WfL team has trained hundreds of educators to see how our woodlands can bring a whole new dimension to learning.
The WfL team holds three Forest School leader courses every year and places are still available on the Capel Curig course.
The trainees, comprising teachers and others who work with children and young people, will learn that 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 woodland environment.
They will also acquire practical woodland skills - such as teaching children to use tools to make items like spoons and fire-lighting - which can be adapted to their classwork back in school. They may even get to grips with some outdoor cooking!
The WfL team's Carol Travers, who will lead the training, said, "Forest School has become widely regarded as a valuable tool for educating our children and young people, and these training courses enable more children to access this method of learning.
"Our woodlands can be a stimulating environment and, in addition to allowing children to achieve their potential, Forest School engages and promotes respect and appreciation for the natural environment."
Another Forest School leader course is planned for the new FC Wales visitor centre in Garwnant, near Merthyr Tydfil in south Wales, starting on March 7, 2011. For more information go to www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry//INFD-7Y4LP6
Forest School leader training lasts for a total of eight days, with additional self-led portfolio work spread over about 9 months. As part of the course, each trainee is assessed while they run a programme of six Forest School sessions with the children they work with.
In addition to running its own courses, the WfL team supports other trainers in Wales through its partnership with Agored Cymru, the accreditation body for Forest School in Wales, and the Wales Forest School Training Network.
A two-day celebration event to mark the tenth anniversary of Forest School in Wales is being planned for October.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Assembly Government’s department of forestry and manages the 126,000 hectares/311,000 acres of woodlands owned by the Welsh Assembly Government.
The Forestry Commission Wales 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 (FEI) on behalf of its partners - FSC, Woodland Trust, Groundwork, Tree Council, TTF, ConFor and BTCV.
For more information on woodlands for learning, contact the Woodlands for Learning team on 0300 068 0300 and ask for Carol Travers.
Media enquiries to Forestry Commission Wales Information Officer Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922.