- Science, History, Geography
- Curriculum Strands:
- Story (History), Myself and my Family (History), Human environments (Geography), Natural environments (Geography), Living things (Science)
- Counties catered for:
- Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Meath, Monaghan, Wexford, Wicklow
- Classes catered for:
- All Classes
Founded by Ciara Hinksman Forest School Ireland began its existence in 2009 as Earth Force Education. She completed three months living off-grid immersed in bushcraft, nature awareness and sustainable living practices in Co. Kerry. She then travelled extensively to the UK and USA in order to learn from and meet nature connection mentors and powerful youths and elders throughout the International 8 Shields network. Ciara wanted to be part of bringing connection to nature, to self and others through cultural design models back into her community and her own land via story, wildlife, plants and the natural rhythms of our seasons and ourselves.
To learn about her approach to Forest School-style learning see this 5 mins. feature on RTE goes Wild. Forest School Ireland also runs Forest After-School programmes and kids Forest School-style holiday camps. Since 2013, she has been working as part of the Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC team to deliver OCN Level 3 Certificate Forest School Leader training in Co. Wicklow. She is the Founding Chair of the Irish Forest School Association and is part of the growing movement of Forest School Leaders in Ireland and around the world.
Ciara became a Heritage in Schools Expert in 2010, she offers experiential workshops and programmes for Forest School, nature connection, biodiversity and sustainability.
FOREST SCHOOL & BIODIVERSITY - 1,5 OR 10 DAY PROGRAMMES -
1 Full days visit: "Forest School Taster Session" - 3 sessions in one day with groups of 12-16 students in a local greenspace, park or woodland.
5 Full day visits: "Introduction to Forest School" - 2 sessions in one day for 2.5 hrs per session with groups of 12-16 students, one session per week for 5 weeks with the same group.
10 Full day visits: "Forest School Programme" - 2 sessions in one day for 2.5 hrs per session with groups of 12-16 students, one session per week for 10 weeks with the same group.
At Forest School there are multiple activities on offer, many of which can be linked back to the primary school principles and curriculum and are applicable to Aistear.
Learners can choose from:
- shelter building
- make-and-create areas with tools (observed by a leader)
- relaxing areas with hammocks
- nature crafts (inks and dyes, clay crafts, willow crafts)
- fire lighting techniques and charcoal making (if permitted by landowner)
- a mud kitchen/clay play area
We also play games and develop our nature awareness skills. Our sessions have a familiar daily routine and the activities on offer are varied and are chosen by the child. The Forest School ethos that underpins our work is that of child-led play and personal development so learning happens holistically for each child. As per insurance requirements adult to child ratios for Forest School visits are 4-8 years - 1:6 adults to children, 9-12 years - 1:8 adults to children, 13-18 years - 1:10 adults to children.
1 Full days visit: BIODIVERSITY AND NATURE CONNECTION EXPLORED - 3 sessions in one day with class groups in a local greenspace, park or woodland. Activities include games, bug safari, nature crafts and some wild edible foraging.
"Really worthwhile, very child focused and the pace and connectedness to the forest was wonderful."
"Ciara's visit was greatly enjoyed by the children and feedback from teachers was very positive - no hesitation in booking Ciara for another visit." - Piltown NS, Kilkenny
"The children thoroughly enjoyed the visit. It was child led and made use of our natural environment. It was wonderful to see how the children interacted with their environment and with each other. Excellent" - St. Brigid's NS, Annacurra, Wicklow
- Provides practical/ hands-on activities
- Provides field trips