We provide a broad range of experiential learning outcomes, records of achievement and recognised qualifications for Key Stage 3 and 4 students, working with schools to align core curriculum subjects such as English, History, Science, Maths and Art with outdoor learning.
We work with over 70 pupils a week from Brighton & Hove schools and run outdoor learning clubs with Moulsecoomb Primary School in their award-winning school grounds. Our work is about the quality of interventions for pupils, many of whom struggle in a conventional classroom, rather than being an exam factory. Much of our work is one-to-one so we can tailor education to specific needs with a high degree of mentoring.
Our programmes are designed to support pupils’ schoolwork, and the qualifications we offer will help move these young people into employment, work experience, apprenticeships or further training.
- Natural history
- Bushcraft skills
- Primitive technology
- Survival skills
- Woodland skills/ Green woodwork
- Environmental art
- Outdoor cooking
Sessions at the Forest Garden can be tailored to meet individual or group needs. They can contribute to Duke of Edinburgh and John Muir awards, and we offer our own bronze, silver and gold achievement awards.
OCN Level Qualifications – Entry Level and Level 1 Woodland skills
The OCN (Open College Network qualification) gives us the opportunity to make an award that is non-invasive in its evidence gathering and doesn’t compromise the therapeutic process we work with. Its simplicity gives us the space to encourage students to develop skills, underpinning knowledge and natural awareness, creating enthusiasm and interest.
Eco therapy – therapeutic support and mentoring
At the Forest Garden we work primarily from a therapeutic base, with our role as mentors building a positive relationship based on respect between staff and student, the Forest Garden and the wider environment.
This provides a unique safe space for students, giving a sense of belonging and community, underpinning the student’s sense of wellbeing, and becoming a major contribution to the overall positive learning experience.
The experience from the sessions gained by the young person can serve as an important role in individual self-development.
Self-motivation, problem solving, mechanical comprehension, social skill, teamwork and personal responsibility are among the transferable skills that can be integrated into other areas of life at home and school.
This therapeutic process depends on a holistic overview, close communication with schools, key workers, parents and carers, with regular hand over and feedback of information, along with progress reports of individual aims and objectives.
Pat Beach leads our Outdoor Education activities:
- City & Guilds year 1 Horticulture
- City & Guilds year 2 Horticulture
- City & Guilds year 3 Arboriculture
- City & Guilds year 4 Woodland Management
- Royal Forestry Certificate Arboriculture
- Royal Horticultural Society Certificate in Horticulture
- Professional Post Graduate Diploma in Therapeutic Horticulture
- City & Guilds NVQ Assessors award
- City & Guilds Organic Principles Holistic Studies
- PTTLS Award (Preparing to Teach in Lifelong Learning Sector)
- NCFE Certificate Bush Craft Instructor Level 4
- NCFE Primitive Technology Level 3
- Food Hygiene Level 2
- Wilderness Remote First Aid
- NNAS Award (National Navigation Awards Scheme)
- Restorative justice award
- Enhanced DBS
Food is a very important part of our work at the Forest Garden, with strong connections between growing and cooking; and eating together provides valuable social opportunities for everyone.
Carly and Jo cook every Tuesday and Friday for between 20-40 people, mainly using our own crops, with local produce supplementing the things we can’t grow.
We involve volunteers of all abilities with planned and supervised sessions. People learn food safety, cooking, knife skills, food preparation, cooking on a budget, seasonal food and healthy eating, as well as how to grow and harvest fruit and vegetables at the project.
We can arrange structured sessions or tailored courses, and provide certificates of achievement for learners. Working with the seasons, our lunches support and promote the health and well-being of everyone at the garden. Our dishes have become so popular over the years that we have our own cooks’ Facebook page, and our outdoor Christmas lunch for volunteers and supporters is legendary.
We produce most of the food we cook and eat, and volunteers (and staff!) work hard outdoors in all weathers, earning the benefits of physical work outdoors in the fresh air!
The focus is on inclusion and taking part – and fun. We aim to bring out the best in people by finding what they are good at. Our nine allotments demand a strong work ethic, feeding, weeding, planting, pruning, watering and harvesting – as well as general tasks to keep the paths and general areas accessible, safe and tidy.
We produce healthy food using heritage variety seeds, and no chemicals (apart from a very, very occasional ferric sulphate slug pellet). As well as food production, our planting schemes are designed to create wildlife-friendly habitats and provide an attractive safe space for people to be.
Warren and Daisy lead the gardening work, planning tasks suitable for all and are happy to share their horticultural knowledge.