Certificate for Forest School Leaders

OCN Level 3 Certificate for Forest School Leaders, Co. Wicklow

Our Autumn 2020/Spring 2021 course is now fully booked. If you would like to be on the waiting list please complete the registration form below and if a place becomes available we will be in contact. Thank you.
Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC will return in Autumn 2020 to deliver their 12th Irish-based Level 3 Certificate for Forest School Leaders (WMOCN). The team, lead by Marina Robb from England, has been working in Ireland with us since 2013. Marina delivers forest school practitioner trainings and programmes in the UK, China, SE Asia, Portugal and Ireland. This training programme is administered in Ireland by Ciara Hinksman of Forest School Ireland (formerly Earth Force Education), who is also part of the Irish training team with other Irish trainers including Lucy Bell of Growing Wild and Lucy O’Hagan of Wild Awake and Phoenix Forest School.

We will start the training in October as planned, however, due to recent changes in Covid 19 regulations in Ireland and the uncertainty of travel we unfortunately will need to postpone direct delivery of Forest School Leader training until January 2021 (Part 1: 21st, 22nd, 23rd January) when we hope our lead Trainer, Marina Robb can travel from the UK without quarantine. 

The schedule is the following:

Zoom 1: October 6th, 5.30pm – 6.30pm. Welcome, Orientation, Accessing Online Resources, agree best webinar time-slot going forward.

Webinar 1: November 9th, 2020, 5.00pm – 6.30pm or 7pm – 8.30pm (best time to be decided based on group decision on Zoom 1): What is Forest School? The 6 Principles, and a broad look at this as a learning approach and Setting up a FS – please bring a natural object found in the garden that represents how you feel in that moment! (Don’t think at all!)

Webinar 2: January 11th, 2021, 5.00pm – 6.30pm or 7pm – 8.30pm: Holistic Education; the Forest Play Continuum, Nature Pedagogy and Awe and Wonder – please bring a little clay and a stick with you!

Webinar 3 : February 15th, 2021, 5.00pm – 6.30pm or 7pm – 8.30pm:  Risk Benefit Assessment and Health and Safety

* Please note all webinars and Zoom calls will be recorded and can be viewed later – however we are asking you to attend the live webinars as much as possible to benefit from the group learning process.

Direct delivery at ‘The Forest’, Hollywood, Co. Wicklow: 
Part 1:  Thursday 21st, Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd January (3 days) 2021 (assuming ease of travel restrictions).

Part 2:  Friday 5th, Saturday  6th, Sunday 7th March (3 days) – completion of Unit 1 (Practical Unit)

Part 3:  Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th April 2021 (2 days)


We will have a maximum number of 16 participants and places are offered based to those who filled in the full booking form first, subject to limited numbers on the course. If you have registered already you don’t need to fill in the form again. If you would like to register to take part, please do so below. 

Covid-19 and our contingency plan:

We aim to provide a dynamic, play-based training while implementing government guidelines. If you are anxious for your personal, family and community safety or have underlying health conditions please consider if this is the right time for you. If you do choose to join us we will share with you how we plan to implement best practice for health and safety as per government guidelines and we will have a Zoom call prior to introduce ourselves, how we will run the course and answer any questions.

Please contact us if you wish to discuss any concerns by email to Ciara at info@forestschoolireland.ie or phone 086 3199515.

Course Details

Face to Face training: Start time: 9am, end Time: 04:30pm
Suitability: Adults 21+ with experience leading groups, preferably young people Location: ‘The Forest’, Ballysize Lower, Hollywood, Co. Wicklow
Price: €1,200

About our Training:

Awarded by the Open College Network West Midlands, this Level 3 Certificate provides the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to prepare learners to work as a Forest School Leader… See More

Course Requirements:

There are approx. 130 hrs of home study required, including a pilot programme designed, run and assessed by you.
Candidates must be aged 21 years or over. Hold a valid First Aid certificate… See More

Earth Force Education

What will you learn:

The Forest School Training is based on best practice and research and includes:
Nature education and connection. Child-led and Adult-led continuum. Personal and cultural development. Educational and Nature pedagogy.. See More


About our Training:

Awarded by the Open College Network West Midlands, this Level 3 Certificate provides the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to prepare learners to work as a Forest School Leader.
The training will combine key principles of Forest School with best practice from Environment and Nature Education, child development, the world of play (wild, free and therapeutic play) delivered by our professional team who have many years experience.
Circle of Life Rediscovery  are now providing online learning resources to supplement this in-depth direct training. These documents are laid out in an easy to understand format that link to the Forest School Units. We also supply useful video material, links to best practice, a student upload to share valuable resources and the option to download resources for you to keep.

Course fee: €1,200. If you wish to complete our 2 day first aid training, there is an additional fee of €130.00.

How to book: Please complete our online booking form.

Course requirements

There is approx. 130 hrs of home study required, including a pilot programme designed, run and assessed by you. Assessment will combine written work, use of practice file, reflective logs, practical demonstrations and group discussion. This training requires a significant level of paper work e.g short written assignments, risk assessments and health and safety policies. If you have any concerns in this area please let us know in advance.

About the Pilot Sessions: Your pilot sessions are part of the qualification and you will be given lots of helpful hints and tips during the training. You will convene a group to work with and plan, deliver and review your sessions which will be one 2.5 hr session per week, for six weeks. You will run the pilot after you have fully completed the face-to-face training components and you have your first aid qualification, your policies and procedures handbook completed and you have been Garda vetted by whichever organisation you decide to work with and have insurance in place. It is not necessary to have arranged this before training starts.

When to do the training: It is strongly advised to have a minimum of two years experience working with groups, preferably groups of children. If you do not have considerable experience working with groups it can affect your training, think of this as a professional development training to bring learning outdoors.

Level 3 FS Leader candidates must:

  • be aged 21 years or over;
  • be a qualified teacher, play-worker, youth-worker or support worker OR have at least 2 years experience of working with a client group in a leadership capacity;
  • have or find access to a group with whom they will run an introductory 6-week Forest School Programme once you have completed training;
  • be Garda vetted by your chosen client group to run your pilot sessions with;
  • Obtain or hold a current and valid First Aid certificate (minimum 2-day/16hr Outdoor First Aid or 2-day Paediatric First Aid if in Early Years only). If you do not have first aid you must become certified before you begin your six pilot sessions.

What will you learn? :

The Forest School Training is based on best practice and research and includes:

  • Nature education and connection
  • Child-led and Adult-led continuum
  • Personal and cultural development
  • Educational and Nature pedagogy
  • Nature conservation and stewardship
  • Risk Benefit Assessment to enable resilient and confident young people
  • Innovative and therapeutic practice in the outdoors
  • Effective communication and behaviour understanding
  • Introduction to neuroscience and growing a healthy brain in the context of child behaviour and development

Times: Face-to-face training is from 9am to 4.00/4.30pm daily, with the final day finishing at 3pm.

Location: ‘The Forest’, Ballysize, Hollywood Lower, near Blessington, Co. Wicklow

Payment information: The cost of the Level 3 Certificate training is €1,200. As there are limited places, a non-refundable deposit of €200 payable to Forest School Ireland is required to hold your place, payable within 3 working days of receiving confirmation of place.

First Aid:  If you require 16 hour Outdoor First Aid training (not the same as occupational or paediatric first aid). Forest School Ireland is organising two-day courses which cost €130 and will take place in Co. Wicklow. However, you can do Remote Emergency Care 2/Wilderness First Aid 2 with any provider if you choose to go elsewhere. Occupational or paediatric first aid does not have the required outdoor application for this qualification. You can find out about our first aid courses here.

Course Content and Units:
The OCN accreditation training carries a total of 18 credits at Level 3 and consists of 5 units.
Credit Value 18, GLH: 155, TQT: 180
Guided Learning hours (GLH) supervised or direct study time required for a unit (indicative).
Total Qualification Time (TQT) number of guided learning hours (GLH) plus the time taken by learner for private study or work experience.

Download Forest School Programme: Delivery.
Credits 3; GLH 27; TQT 30.
Download Forest School Programme: Learning and Development.
Credit 6; GLH 50; TQT 60.
Download Forest School Programmes: Planning and Preparation.
Credits 3; GLH 27; TQT 30.
Download Forest School Programmes: Practical Skills.
Credit 3; GLH 26; TQT 30.
Download Forest School Programmes: The Woodland Environment.
Credit 3; GLH 25; TQT 30.

Useful documents to download:
Download our FAQ’s about this training.
Download our Level 3 Forest School Training Guide.

How to book: please complete our online booking form. You can also read a blog written about what typically happens at Forest School training.

“Life changing! I love the group, the learning, the delivery, the experiences.”

Katie, 2020
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