Certificate for Forest School Leaders

OCN Level 3 Certificate for Forest School Leaders, near Kilcock, Co. Kildare
Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC delivers their Irish-based Level 3 Certificate for Forest School Leaders (WMOCN) with their Irish team, lead by Marina Robb from England, which includes Lucy Bell, Lucy O’Hagan and Ciara Hinksman. COLR has been working in Ireland with Forest School Ireland since 2013 and delivers forest school practitioner trainings and programmes in the UK, China, SE Asia and Portugal.

This training is administered, coordinated and hosted in Ireland by Ciara Hinksman of Forest School Ireland, who is a COLR associate trainer alongside Lucy Bell of Growing Wild and Lucy O’Hagan of Wild Awake and Phoenix Forest School.

Please read our Frequently Asked Questions about the training before committing. If you would like to chat through what is involved or you have any questions please email Ciara at info@forestschoolireland.ie and we can arrange a time to chat if needed.

There are two training cohorts in 2022, the schedules are as follows, you must stick to the dates you book, these are not transferable as each cohort is organised separately.:

Cohort 15 – Spring 2022:

Direct delivery for 8 days, 9am to 4.30pm each day at ‘Larchill Arcadian Gardens’, on the Meath/Kildare border near Kilcock. These are non-transferable once booked

Part 1: 9th, 10th, 11th April (3 days – Sat, Sun, Mon)

Part 2: 14th & 15th May (2 days – Sat, Sun)

Part 3: 10th, 11th, 12th June (3 days – Fri, Sat, Sun)

Plus online learning (recorded for later viewing):

Webinar Welcome: Mon 21st  March, 5 – 6pm

Webinar 1: Mon 4th April, 5 – 6.30pm

Webinar 2: Mon 2nd May, 5 – 6.30pm

Webinar 3: Mon 23rd May, 5 – 6.30pm 

Cohort 16 – Summer 2022:

Direct delivery for 8 days, 9am to 4.30pm each day at ‘Larchill Arcadian Gardens’, on the Meath/Kildare border near Kilcock. These are non-transferable once booked

Part 1: 6th, 7th, 8th, May (3 days – Fri, Sat, Sun)

Part 2: 18th & 19th June (2 days – Sat, Sun)

Part 3: 22nd, 23rd, 24th, July (3 days – Fri, Sat, Sun

Plus online learning (recorded for later viewing):

Webinar Welcome: Wed 20th April, 5 – 6pm

Webinar 1: Wed 27th April, 5 – 6.30pm

Webinar 2: Wed 13th June, 5 – 6.30pm

Webinar 3: Wed 6th July, 5 – 6.30pm

Public Health 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 cover much of the indoor curricula via Zoom, the majority of the direct training delivery will be outdoors.

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: 8 days in 3 blocks. Start time: 9am, end Time: 04:30pm
Suitability: Adults 21+ with experience leading groups, preferably young people Location: Larchill Arcadian Gardens, Co. Meath near Kilcock
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. Assessment will combine written and … 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 to be paid in full before the course starts.

First aid: You must have outdoor first aid before you begin to work with clients (e.g. after direct training finishes and you are running your 6 Pilot Sessions). If you wish to complete a 2 day REC2 Outdoor First Aid training organised by Forest School Ireland it costs €130.00 and you can book it separately here.

Course requirements

There is approx. 130 hrs of home study required, including a pilot programme designed, delivered and assessed by you. Assessment will combine written work, use of practice files, 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.

Please be aware of the coursework required to complete the course as there are 5 Units of study.

The 5 Units are: ‘Forest School Programme Delivery’, ‘Practical Skills’, ‘Learning and Development Theories’, ‘Planning & Preparation’ and ‘The Woodland Environment’. It’s a good idea to read the Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria in the OCN course spec. under each unit title here, just download the course specs document and scroll down to the highlighted sections for each unit.

About the Pilot FS 6 Sessions: Your pilot sessions are part of the qualification and you will be given lots of helpful hints and tips during the training. You don’t need to do this in advance but once you have completed the face-to-face direct training you will need to convene a group of min. 8-15 learners. You will plan 6 FS sessions (comprising of 2-2.5 hrs per week for six weeks), deliver and review them.

You will only run the pilot after you have fully completed and written up the face-to-face practical training components and you have your outdoor first aid qualification, completed your policies and procedures handbook, you have been Garda vetted by whichever organisation you decide to work with and there is insurance in place. It is not necessary to have arranged all this before training starts and we will go through all this with you during training.

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. In order to build your level of experience it is a great idea to volunteer at FS sessions or the Scouts, or other youth groups in your area with kids, preferably outdoors.

Level 3 FS Leader candidates must:

  • be aged 21 years or over;
  • be a qualified teacher (primary, secondary, early years), 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 will 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;
  • Before working with clients you must obtain or hold a current and valid Outdoor 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 or have someone on site with you who is Outdoor First Aid certified.

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. We ask participants to arrive by 8.45am each day to be ready to start on time.

Location:Larchill Arcadian Gardens‘, Phepotstown, Co. Meath is a 20 min cycle or 10 min drive from Kilcock, Co. Kildare.

Payment information: The cost of the Level 3 Certificate training is €1,200. As there are limited places, the full amount is payable to Forest School Ireland to hold your place, payable within 7 working days of receiving confirmation of place. If you require a payment plan you can email Ciara at info@forestschoolireland.ie. All fees must be paid in full before the course commences.

Cancellation at any time incurs a €200 non-refundable fee. The cancellation policy is clearly marked out in the registration form and full fees will be retained if you you do not give us enough notice.

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. However, you can do Remote Emergency Care 2/Wilderness First Aid 2 with any provider. 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 OCN 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.

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 registration forms found at the top of this page. 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
Using natural inks and dyes

Email info@forestschoolireland.ie for more information or if you would like to find out more about Forest School try one of our introductory adults courses.

%d bloggers like this: