So you have decided that you want to embark on the journey to become a Level 3 qualified Forest School Practitioner. An increasing number of training providers and a wider variety of formats for the training course can make it difficult to choose the right training provider for you. It might just come down to the dates that you can get off work or fit around other commitments, it might be largely a financial decision (prices across the country seem to range from about £600 to £1200 for the same qualification). You might be looking for a trainer with a particular perspective or area of expertise or you might just want to get the whole thing done and dusted in the shortest time possible.
The Forest School training I have been running for the last few years has broadly followed the format of face to face training in the woods, one day a week for 8 weeks. I always value feedback from participants in courses and an almost universal request is for a longer course. I have on occasion, been conscious of hurrying a group along when they are absorbed in a particular task or discussion . Unfortunately the short amount of contact time available to cover the course has made this necessary.
Given that the Level 3 course guidance stipulates a minimum of 96 ‘Guided Learning Hours’ when you are in face to face or other direct contact with your trainer, I cannot see how the same depth of understanding and practice can be achieved in courses lasting only 5 days. I think that it is essential for the quality of Forest School experiences and the integrity of the Forest School movement, that trainees complete their course with the confidence, skills, knowledge and authentic experience to set up and run their own programs from scratch.
The Forest School Association is due to launch a quality assurance scheme for Forest School Training, in the meantime, it is worth reading their guide to choosing a forest school trainer and asking some or all of the suggested questions before you fill in an application form and pay a deposit. Do give me a ring and I’ll do my very best to answer your training queries.