'Good Practice' recognised at PPA
Penryn Primary Academy is celebrating its success at becoming a recognised Forest School Provider by offering children an opportunity to experience ‘good practice’ Forest School.
Wendy Malham, Forest School Teacher at Penryn Primary Academy comments: “I am over the moon that The Forest School Association has recognised the high quality of provision we provide to support our pupils at Penryn Primary Academy. We care passionately about providing our pupils with opportunities to learn and develop in all areas of life and being outside at Forest School allows pupils to do this on so many levels.”
Forest School is a specialised learning approach based in a woodland or natural environment with trees. It offers all participants regular opportunities to develop self-confidence and esteem through hands-on learning experiences. Its roots reach back to early years pioneers in outdoor learning in Scandinavia.
In October 2017, the Forest School Association (FSA) - the UK’s professional body and voice for all things Forest School - launched a new scheme to recognise Forest School Providers who demonstrated that they are following good Forest School practice - the FSA Recognised Forest School Provider scheme. Successful applicants such as Penryn Primary Academy Forest School are added to a publicly accessible map on the FSA’s website www.forestschoolassociation.org/find-a-forest-school-provider/
For parents wondering where to send their children, or even for decision makers such as Local Authorities and academies, it is important to know that a provider is operating professionally. Are they working in accordance with good Forest School practice? Are the sessions conducted so that the children’s self-confidence, communication skills, use of tools (among other skills), is progressing week on week? Do they have the appropriate qualifications, First Aid Certificate and risk assessment processes in place? Are the woodland sites well managed? The FSA Recognised Forest School Provider Scheme offers that reassurance!
Gareth Wyn Davies (CEO of the Forest School Association) says,
“Good Forest School practice is being followed by dedicated Forest School professionals all over the UK. We believe that the FSA Recognised Forest School Provider scheme will provide these schools and organisations with the means of demonstrating the quality of their work to parents and those who fund their work. It will also help promote their work as they will be found on the FSA publicly searchable map. Forest School is a distinct learning approach based on a set of 6 principles. The application process helps people identify those providers who are following good Forest School practice and distinguishes them from other outdoor education that is not Forest School.
We therefore congratulate Penryn Primary Academy on their success at becoming an approved ‘good practice’ provider.”
The scheme takes providers through an evidence-based assessment process ensuring that their practice meets all the necessary requirements to operate professionally in line with the 6 good practice principles of Forest School. It also gives providers a chance to take stock of their programme(s) to see if any improvements need to be made.
Organisations can apply to be approved as an ‘introductory’ or ‘recognised’ provider depending on the length and frequency of the programmes they offer. If they fulfil all the evidence needs, and their application is successful, applicants receive a range of benefits including an e-badge that they can display on their website and marketing materials, are listed on an online publicly searchable map and can access a range of member discounts.
Feedback from successful applicants who have been through the application process has so far proved positive but ultimately the real success comes from the participants using Forest School.
Ensuring provision is professional is a major part of this experience and the FSA’s goal is to ensure that more positive outcomes are the result of good practice Forest School provision.
The Forest School Association is the professional body and UK wide voice for Forest School, promoting best practice, cohesion and 'quality Forest School for all'. Its charitable purpose is "the advancement of education for public benefit through promotion and support of quality Forest School in the United Kingdom using any means to enable all children, young people and adults to benefit from increased opportunities for high quality and varied educational experiences in the natural world."
Details on how to join the Forest School Provider Scheme and its benefits can be found by clicking here.