On International Day of Forests we wanted to share details of our woodland-based and outdoor awards, enabling your students to gain valuable qualifications!
The John Muir Award – suitable for years 5, 6 and above
The John Muir Award is a National Conservation Award and can be achieved at Discovery Level either as series of day visits or 4 consecutive days.
The award is suitable for pupils from upper Key stage 2 onwards, and gives students the opportunity to connect with, enjoy and care for a wild place through 4 challenges: Discover, Explore, Conserve and Share.
Residential Woodland Camp Case Study: Tiffins Boys School, London
We start the process with a Woodland Day in May to learn the skills students will need for camp (Discover); fire lighting, shelter building and cooking. During the woodland day, we also provide an opportunity for students to join in the planning of camp activities – within reason!
The camp then takes place in June for 2 nights and 3 days (Explore) and includes tool use, team building games, night stalks, cooking, a conservation activity (Conserve) and plenty of adventure!
Students then go back to school and Share what they have learnt. They come away from the experience with more confidence, closer as a team, with a better understanding of the natural environment and having achieved the John Muir Award at Discovery level.
“I didn’t think that I liked camping but I have underestimated myself. The camp was amazing, I have not only learnt new skills but I have learnt to be grateful about everything around me. I have a new sense of confidence and believe in myself.”
Camp Participant, June 2017.
Other Woodland Qualifications
Each of the qualifications below requires a minimum commitment of 4 days in an outdoor environment, ideally a woodland, but they can also take in your school grounds, a local park or a woodland across the school year.
OCN Basic Woodland Skills and Knowledge – Suitable for working at Entry Level
3 key principles:
- Know how to work safely in the outdoors
- Be able to use tools to make items
- Be able to recognise woodland life
OCN Woodland Skills and Nature – Suitable for those working at Level 1
5 key principles:
- Understand health and safety responsibilities when using woodland survival skills
- Be able to recognise woodland life
- Know the principles of fire lighting
- Be able to light a fire
- Be able to use skills for practical woodland tasks
Case Study: Moulsecoomb Community Forest Garden Project
“The majority of the students we work with have Special Educational Needs (SEN) experiencing difficulties within main stream education for many reasons. A great deal of our in nature work initially is therapeutic.
The OCN Level 1 Woodland Skills qualification gives us the opportunity to give an award that is non invasive in its evidence gathering and doesn’t compromise the therapeutic process.
Its simplicity gives us the space to be able to encourage students to develop skills, underpinning knowledge and natural awareness, creating enthusiasm and interest.
The opportunity to earn and receive a certificate as a record of achievement really does motivate students, becoming an important part of their self development and eventually CVs.
We began awarding the OCN certificates through Circle of Life Rediscovery back in 2011, as a community project many of the students who have received the award and since left school come back to see us, they always mention the OCN level 1 they received.
I would say the Level 1 award represents not just a record of achievement, but also marks a passage in time, a process these young people very much enjoyed.”
Patrick Beach, Outdoor Education Instructor / Therapeutic Practitioner
Moulsecoomb Community Forest Garden Project
Our Woodland Site
Circle of Life Rediscovery welcomes all our groups to a stunning 10 acre of beautiful mixed broad-leafed woodland known as Mill Woods. It is near Laughton Village, located 10 miles from Lewes in East Sussex.
We offer a range of opportunities for schools, organisations, professional health and social services to access this natural environment though programmes, day events and trainings. Read more about it here.
Our programmes include Forest School Sessions, Enrichment Days and Activity Days for schools across East Sussex. For adults we offer CPD’s, Forest School Training, Forest School First Aid Training and bespoke in-house training for organisations.
If you would like to find out more, please visit our website or call 01273 814226.