COURSES

We invite you to join us on one of our courses.  All of our courses are taught by our own heartwood team together with leading practitioners and are designed to be made as accessible to as many as possible; please get in touch to discuss any barriers to you participating.

Facilitator Training Course

We run an immersive three days and three nights course for people wishing to be Children’s Forest facilitators in a beautiful wood on a biodynamic farm in East Sussex.  For more information and to apply for a place please click the button below which will direct you to a different page.

SHORT COURSES

This autumn we are offering the following short courses in East Sussex, please complete the form below to book your place.

Our day courses are priced on a sliding scale of £40 – £80 per person, per day.

Please pay at the level relevant to your situation. We support paying it forward – when you pay more it will directly facilitate someone else to attend. And all additional income will directly help with the planting of Children’s Forests.

PAYMENT OPTIONS: (please add your name & course as a reference)

PayPal: [email protected]

BACS: Children’s Forest Ltd, Triodos account number 21447977, sort code 165810.

Write to [email protected]  

Fee: £40 – £80 (sliding scale) Payment details can be found at the top of the page.

Please pay at the level comfortable to you. We support paying it forward – when you pay more it will directly facilitate someone else to attend. And all additional income will directly help with the planting of Children’s Forests.

Location: Forest Row, East Sussex (address provided upon booking).

About the tutors

Anna Richardson: Anna has been a nature mentor and trained forest school leader for over 20 years, working with children of all ages and mentoring adults in plant lore, foraging, nature connection and bushcraft. The 8 Shields deeply informs Anna’s work and approach.  She is passionate about connecting to nature through creativity and reverence for life and is also a forest school trainer through Circle of Life Rediscovery and has co-authored two books : Learning with Nature and The Children’s Forest and am the founder of the Children’s Forest.

Victoria Mew: Having been introduced to bushcraft and deep nature connection through Trackways at aged 12, Victoria has followed this passion ever since. She had rich nature connection experiences during her teen years that gave her embodied knowledge of the value of these practices. Since 2012 Victoria has ran Cultivating Curiosity, a small, local company providing such experiences for children with aims of deepening relationship to self, nature and community over time. It’s a joy that some children who started a decade ago have continued their journey with us, becoming young mentors themselves. In 2010 Victoria played a key role in organising the first Art of Mentoring week long event that is a fuller expression of the 8-shields model. Since 2017 she has presented on Art of Mentoring events alongside Jon Young and is well versed in the content and context of this model.

“I’m currently finding joy in this field of work in the place where, through the practices and nature connection themes we engage with, people come alive in themselves and feel a deep sense of belonging. Belonging in the natural world, within the people community and ultimately come to feel at home in themselves with awareness of the gifts they are here to offer the world.”

8 Shields Introduction day

Date tbc

For Adults

This day is an introduction to the 8-shields model that has come from the work of Naturalist, Anthropologist and Author Jon Young.  The day will be experiential weaving in core routines of nature connection, games and practices.  During the day we will bring layers of reflection and understanding of how our journey through a 24 hour cycle relates to the cycle of the seasons through the year and life cycles.  We will as a group draw out the archetypal energies of natural cycles which can then form an understanding of a universal natural flow.  You can then apply this to design and planning of projects, meetings and of course holding experiences for others in nature.

This workshop is for adults and will support those working with children in outdoor education such as Forest School facilitators.

The course will cover

  • Experience of nature connection games
  • Activities and techniques to awaken and enliven your senses
  • An introduction to a map of natural cycles including the cycle of a day, year, life cycle of a plant, life cycle of a human and archetypal energies of natural cycles.
  • Introduction of the Sit spot practice
  • The value of sharing the story of our experiences
  • Reflecting on how this model can be useful in different settings including planning and design of Forest School sessions
  • Sharing gratitude

Fee: £40 – £80 (sliding scale) Payment details can be found at the top of the page.

Please pay at the level comfortable to you. We support paying it forward – when you pay more it will directly facilitate someone else to attend. And all additional income will directly help with the planting of Children’s Forests.

Location: Forest Row, East Sussex (address provided upon booking).

About the tutor

Jack Durtnall: Jack is an accomplished musician, music teacher, nature connection facilitator and forest school leader. He came to nature connection work through an innate love for nature, folk song, the life-work of Jon Young, 8 Shields and Nature Culture Network UK. Jack has been leading workshops in music, mentoring in nature and facilitating on camps and courses, including Art Of Mentoring camps in the UK, since 2017. Jack’s background is in music, studying at Oxford he received a First in his degree in 2010. As well as his role leading workshops and facilitating on plantings with the Children’s Forest, Jack co-leads the Children’s Forest Tree Choir with Anna Richardson at Spring Rise, Emerson College, and is part of the team bringing through the Song Forest project; a collection of Children’s Forest tree songs seeded by Anna Richardson, River Jones and friends.

Tree Songs & Stories

Date TBC

For Adults

On this day we will walk the land and meet several species of trees. We will share stories and tree lore and learn some of the gifts of food and medicine that each tree offers.  You will then be able to share this with friends and families or children that you work with.

We will share songs that are part of a collection called the Song Forest that supports the Children’s Forest project in planting future forests.  These songs have been created to be sung for and to the tress in celebration of them and the gifts they share.

Singing is a wonderful way to connect with each other and nature; it opens the door to to a deeper relationship with the trees.

This workshop is for adults and will support those working with children in outdoor education such as Forest School facilitators.

The course will cover

  • Learn several songs and stories for native trees of this land. We will share lyrics and provide bare bones of the stories so that you will be able to go home and share with your family, friends and those you work with. 
  • Explore the old names and gifts of the trees as we share teas and food that they provide and touch upon their medicinal uses.
  • An opportunity to create nourishing connection with others, to honour and celebrate the trees, engage with simple ceremony and have time to slow down and listen to the land. 
  • Forest School facilitators and nature mentors will learn song and story that will help children to have a deeper connection to the trees. This is an important aspect of the Children’s Forest approach. 
  • Cultivate a deep joy and contentment within that will help boost wellbeing and relieve stress.

Fee: £40 – £80 (sliding scale). Payment details can be found at the top of the page.

Please pay at the level comfortable to you. We support paying it forward – when you pay more it will directly facilitate someone else to attend. And all additional income will directly help with the planting of Children’s Forests.

Location: Forest Row, East Sussex (address provided upon booking).

About the tutors

Jack Durtnall: Jack is an accomplished musician, nature connection facilitator and forest school leader who came to nature connection work through an innate love for nature, folk song, the life-work of Jon Young, 8 Shields and Nature Culture Network UK. Jack has been leading workshops in music, mentoring in nature and facilitating on camps and courses, including Art Of Mentoring camps in the UK, since 2017. Jack’s background is in music, studying at Oxford he received a First in his degree in 2010. As well as his role leading workshops and facilitating on plantings with the Children’s Forest, Jack co-leads the Children’s Forest Tree Choir with Anna Richardson at Spring Rise, Emerson College, and is part of the team bringing through the Song Forest project; a collection of Children’s Forest tree songs seeded by Anna Richardson, River Jones and friends.

Victoria Mew: Having been introduced to bushcraft and deep nature connection through Trackways at aged 12, Victoria has followed this passion ever since. She had rich nature connection experiences during her teen years that gave her embodied knowledge of the value of these practices. Since 2012 Victoria has ran Cultivating Curiosity, a small, local company providing such experiences for children with aims of deepening relationship to self, nature and community over time. It’s a joy that some children who started a decade ago have continued their journey with us, becoming young mentors themselves. In 2010 Victoria played a key role in organising the first Art of Mentoring week long event that is a fuller expression of the 8-shields model. Since 2017 she has presented on Art of Mentoring events alongside Jon Young and is well versed in the content and context of this model.

“I’m currently finding joy in this field of work in the place where, through the practices and nature connection themes we engage with, people come alive in themselves and feel a deep sense of belonging. Belonging in the natural world, within the people community and ultimately come to feel at home in themselves with awareness of the gifts they are here to offer the world.”

Nature Connection

Date: TBC

For Adults

For most of our evolution, humans have lived in sync with nature.  Our nervous systems are hard-wired to respond to stimuli received from the natural world.  Faced with the over-stimulation of our modern world, our senses have become dulled and our sense of wellbeing affected.

This day course will offer the opportunity to remember your natural state of being in relationship with nature.  We will use established nature connection practices to awaken your senses and restore wellbeing, and offer some that you can take with you to practice in your daily life.

This workshop can be a stand alone day course, and leads well into the following day, see below.

Who is this course suitable for?

This course is suitable for beginners and the more experienced. We will be building on the skills we learned on the first nature connection day, sharing different activities, songs and meeting new plant and tree beings in the stunning natural surroundings.

The course will cover:

  • Learn practices that will support your sense of belonging and connection to the natural world. Through our senses we develop presence and awareness which calms the mind and opens us to the magic that we are surrounded by.
  • Learn about the language of the birds and how they signal who is moving in the forest, how they are the messengers of that which we cannot see. This indigenous knowledge is deeply integrated connective cultures  throughout the world.
  • Create an opportunity to open to the plants and trees, as we discover their healing presence and explore their gifts of food and medicine as we walk together as our ancestors have done for millennia.
  • Learn through games and activity, story and song. This will offer nourishing practice for all who wish to deepen their relationship with the land.
  • Expand your skill set to include 8 shields based nature connection practices that Forest School practitioners and Nature mentors can share with others.   
  • Take away practices that will restore wellbeing and provide stress relieving resilience techniques.

Acorn Processing teaching day

Autumn 2023

For Adults

On this day we will walk the land and meet several oak trees and learn traditional methods of harvesting and processing fresh and dried acorns as our ancestors once did. We will share stories and tree lore and learn some of the gifts of food and medicine that the oak tree offers.  As a group we will learn how to process acorn flour, among other acorn foods, using traditional methods and will be able to share this with friends and families or children that you work with.

This workshop is for adults and will support those working with children in outdoor education such as Forest School facilitators.

The course will cover

  • Learn songs and stories dedicated to the oak. We will share lyrics and provide bare bones of the stories so that you will be able to go home and share with your family, friends and those you work with. 
  • Explore the old names and gifts of the oak tree as we share food that they provide and touch upon their medicinal uses.
  • Learn how to process acorn flour using traditional methods among other foods.
  • An opportunity to create nourishing connection with others, to honour and celebrate the trees, engage with simple ceremony and have time to slow down and listen to the land. 
  • Forest School facilitators and nature mentors will learn song and story that will help children to have a deeper connection to the trees. This is an important aspect of the Children’s Forest approach. 
  • Cultivate a deep joy and contentment within that will help boost wellbeing and relieve stress.

Fee: £40 – £80 (sliding scale) Payment details can be found at the top of the page.

Please pay at the level comfortable to you. We support paying it forward – when you pay more it will directly facilitate someone else to attend. And all additional income will directly help with the planting of Children’s Forests.

Location: Forest Row, East Sussex (address provided upon booking).

About the tutors

Anna Richardson: Anna has been a nature mentor and trained forest school leader for over 20 years, working with children of all ages and mentoring adults in plant lore, foraging, nature connection and bushcraft. The 8 Shields deeply informs Anna’s work and approach.  She is passionate about connecting to nature through creativity and reverence for life and is also a forest school trainer through Circle of Life Rediscovery and has co-authored two books : Learning with Nature and The Children’s Forest and am the founder of the Children’s Forest.

Erica Shorter: Erica is a trained forest school leader and experienced nature mentor.

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