Conference — May 2017

Roots Grow Down
Inaugural Conference & AGM

20–21st May 2017
Irish National Heritage Park

More information about the Conference can be found here.


About our speakers and their workshops

John Brian Marina

Jon Cree

Brian Poots

Marina Robb

The theme of Jon’s keynote will be ensuring the ethos of Forest School is fully reflected in Forest School programmes. For the workshop, Cree wants to discuss what ‘challenging behaviour’ in relation to Forest School means, how our needs are met from being outdoors and how the outdoors affects challenging behaviour. This workshop will take place outdoors.

The workshop will tell of a journey. From the initial struggles and frustrations to encourage local
Government and environmental organisations to begin a Forest School programme in Northern Ireland, through to the establishment of the Northern Ireland Forest School Association (NIFSA).
This workshop will draw together core routines in nature, games, and inspiring nature-centric approaches that foster well-being in children, where they learn by doing. There will be a particular focus on plants. This workshop will take place outdoors, whatever the weather — so come prepared!
Carol Jenny Ciara

Carol Middleton

Jenny Dungan

Ciara Hinksmann

Carol’s interactive workshop gives you space to reflect on your leadership journey so far, and inspiration for future development. Starting with a revision of principles, we will consider the role of the FS leader and the aspects of your practice which support a connection to nature, learner-centered processes and the growth community within your forest school.

The workshop is suitable for primary teachers, forest school leaders, parents of children in primary school, or those who are interested in the above.

Ciara will lead our opening and closing circles during the conference.

Skills sharing

An integral part of Forest School training is the opportunity for leaders to share skills.
On Sunday we will offer some such sessions by experienced leaders.

Shane-11 Caroline Orla-10

Shane Furlong

Caroline Carroll Percival

Orla Gallagher

Shane will be offering a tutorial on fundamental knife skills, including basic cuts. This is suitable as a refresher for Forest School Leaders or as an introduction for first-time knife users. We will apply our skills to make a basic pot hanger, time permitting.

Forest School is often described as child-led and sometimes people think there is no structure to a session — but there is! Caroline will explore the structure that she uses, and her approach to planning and assessment, including the risk assessments and health and safety issues.

Orla Gallagher and Trish McLaughlin will be giving a joint workshop.

This will be an interactive discussion based workshop exploring and reflecting on practice. It is suitable for practitioners working in Early Years or anyone who has an interest in nature based learning with under 6’s.

Trisha Joan

Trisha McLaughlin

Joan Whelan

Orla Gallagher and Trish McLaughlin will be giving a joint workshop.

This will be an interactive discussion based workshop exploring and reflecting on practice. It is suitable for practitioners working in Early Years or anyone who has an interest in nature based learning with under 6’s.

This will be an opportunity to talk about the theory and the philosophy behind forest schools and to share any work that you are doing in the area, as well as to discuss key papers that have marked the development of FS in the UK and Ireland. Please get in touch with Joan at joanwhelan3@gmail.com if you would like to share your research at the session. Bring along any posters or material on the day. Depending on the weather we may work outside!

More information about the speakers can be found here.