FSA National Conference 2022

Celebrating 10 years of the

Forest School Association

30th September – 2nd October 2022

Danbury, Essex

 

FSA Members get £35 discount on their booking.

Link to get your discount code here

Welcome to the 2022 FSA National Conference Page

This year’s event theme is celebration to coincide with the 10th Birthday of the Forest School Association. We are looking forward to celebrate the voices, people and ethos that make Forest School so special. This year the conference has a new design model and we are happy to be supported by FSA Essex Local Group.  We look forward to welcoming you to the Essex Outdoor’s Danbury Centre and a weekend of fun and Forest School. 

The Conference Venue

This is our second visit to Danbury.  We were last here in 2014  and the venue proved to be a popular one.  Since then, Essex Outdoors has made some improvements to their Danbury site.  They have upgraded their toilet and shower blocks, added some camping pods and added on site tents which is great if you are coming to the conference by public transport, as well as having 10 heated cabins and lots of camping space.

Danbury describes itself as a woodland haven in the heart of Essex. It is located in seventy acres of prime countryside. It is easy to find being just one mile from J.18 of the A12
. 

Conference Accommodation

Camping Pods

Danbury has 11 cosy camping pods, perfect for those looking for a camping experience with a little more comfort than being under canvas. Each has heating, power and sleep 4 to 8 in bunk beds.  For our conference, unless you are specifically booking a group with more than four people wanting to stay together we advise 4 adults sharing per pod. Dedicated and accessible toilets and showers are in a separate block, adjacent to camping pods.

Delegates should bring their own blankets, pillows and sleeping bags.

Log Cabin - Dormitory

Danbury has 10 recently renovated cabins that provide a great alternative to tented accommodation.

Each cabin has a wet room, porch, toilet and sink, heating and electricity. The toilet and shower block also has a unisex accessible shower/wet room, with shower chairs and toilet support/brace bars, and accessible toilets with support/brace bars.

Delegates should bring their own blankets, pillows and sleeping bags.

A maximum of 90 beds available

Log cabin - shared room for two - Sold Out

Each of Danbury’s cabins are equipped with separate more private shared rooms for those requiring extra privacy and space. These rooms can be booked for two people in a group booking so you can choose who you are sharing with.  These rooms are often used by residential school leaders/teachers so will give you the best night’s sleep.  They allow access to the other facilities and have power and heating to keep you snug.

Delegates should bring their own blankets, pillows and sleeping bags.

 

Tent Hire

 

These are ideal for delegates looking for a traditional camping experience. Are you worried about travelling on public transport with limited space in your kit bag?  Then this option is just for you. Danbury’s canvas patrol tents sleep. The camping area its own separate shower block and toilets.

Delegates should bring their own blankets, insulating mats, pillows and sleeping bags.

Camping

Danbury has plenty of camping space for you to pitch your own tent.  No personal fires are allowed on site but Danbury do allow you to bring a small camping stove for that early morning cuppa and in case you need a hot water bottle to keep you warm at night.

Car Parking and Campervans

 

We have secured some more car parking space just 400m from Danbury Centre. You can book car parking tickets for a small charge at the same time as you book for the conference. 

Unfortunately, there are no on-site facilities for campervans, so if you wish to use a camper van you will need to make your own arrangements to stay nearby.  You will then need to book a camping and catering ticket if you are wanting to access on-site catering or a camping ticket without catering if you want to self-cater.  

Catering and Food

Danbury Outdoors has a dedicated dining hall and permanent professional catering kitchens which will be providing the catering. Danbury Outdoor’s catering team will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner for conference delegates, and refreshments throughout the day.

They are happy and experienced in catering for many dietary requirements as specified by culture, religion and medical concerns. The catering team regularly provide meals for a wide variety of needs including vegetarian, vegan, coeliac, diabetic or food allergies. They can also provide a carb count, if required.

Danbury provides a nut-free environment for delegates and request you do not come with any products that contain nuts.

During checkout, you have the opportunity to email the conference team any dietary requirements you may have. This includes food allergies and intolerances, these will be passed to Danbury prior to arrival. Just make sure you let us know when booking if you have any dietary requirements. 

What is happening at this year’s Conference?

 

We have a great mix of workshops lining up for you to keep you inspired and entertained during the weekend (watch this space for details).  Feedback from last year’s conference asked for less formal speakers and more things to do, outside of the formal workshops spaces.  So this year we are introducing a play and skill share area, where you can go and try out a new skill or two, or offer to pass on a skill you have to others.

We are looking to create a marketplace village, so if you have products or services to sell you could opt for a stall there.  We will have another of Matt’s quizzes, Saturday night dancing and lots of time to chat and meet friends or make new ones. 

 

FSA Patron Tim Gill - Birthday Address

Writer, consultant, independent researcher and public speaker. Global advocate for children’s outdoor play and mobility, more child-friendly neighbourhoods, and a balanced approach to risk in children’s play and learning.

Author of No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society (“A handbook for the movement for freer, riskier play.” The New York Times) and Urban Playground: How child-friendly planning and design can save cities.

Tim will be attending the conference and offering a special Birthday Address to open the proceedings.

Coddiwomplers - Willow Tree

We are really pleased to welcome back Stuart and Emma from Coddiwomplers. They are willow weavers and teachers based in South Norfolk. They both make a range of willow baskets and crafts to sell using willow from Somerset as well as locally coppiced willow and hazel. Each year they bring offer a range of willow weaving opportunities and tuition for a very reasonable fee.  This year they are creating a willow tree installation sculpture for us and they are offering the opportunity for you to make a leaf out of willow to bring it to life.  Sounds like a fun introduction to willow weaving, so pop along and have a go!

Community Bunting Collection

We are hoping that you will all support us by making some community bunting to decorate the Conference Venue to celebrate our 10th Birthday. If we all make a couple of meters we will have enough to decorate the entire marketplace.

In our push to be more environmentally friendly, this is a great use for all those old clothes that are too battered to go to the charity shop not quite ready for recycling but able to raise the spirits of our delegates. 

The Best Bar-None

This year the bar will be supplied by the Best Bar-None. A brewery local to Danbury. Every year we look to support local firms and reduce carbon footprints. You can find more about them and find their price list at https://www.thebestbar-none.com/

Saturday Evening Music - Medicine

We have local band Medicine performing for us at the conference on Saturday night, and they are looking forward to a lively night of dancing!

‘Medicine were formed by singer/songwriter Mark Barnard in Glastonbury, 1996.

The band, now based in Essex since 2007, are a kick-ass swashbuckling live act playing a mix of foot-tapping original Celtic/rock  songs and a selection of cover songs such as the ever popular ‘Devil Went Down To Georgia’ and plenty of Irish, Scottish and English trads and jigs thrown in for good measure!’

Some of this year’s Conference Workshops

Forest Bathing with Charlotte Atkinson

In this two-hour guided Forest Bathing workshop we will follow the optimal flow sequence which will include connecting with the woodland environment through your senses and walking slowly and mindfully. You will be offered invitations to experience the woodland in different ways; sometimes alone and sometimes with others. We will finish with a tea ceremony. The focus will be on slowing down, taking notice, enjoying calm and relaxation.

The Importance of Ceremony & Celebration - how to engage 'hard to reach' children with Christopher Grice

We have all witnessed children ( and teachers) in our forest school settings who struggle to engage with an environment of true child lead learning, be that due to learning differences, their past experiences or simply down to the rigid structure of their mainstream setting. In this hands on workshop we share how we have used ceremony, celebrations and metaphors from nature to guide those busy minds into a place where they are ground and can fully emerge into the setting, and just as importantly cope with the session or block of sessions coming to an end.

Kinship With The More-Than-Human Exploring beyond nature connection with Paul Moseley

The forest school prac//oner is uniquely placed, through the communities that we hold a space for, to create meaningful relationships with the natural world. In understanding how to contact, connection, culture and kinship emerge out of forest school practice, we are better able to create an inspiring alliance between humans and non-humans. This workshop will explore assumptions about nature, the role of kinship and imagining new perspectives on how we relate to the more-than-human world.

USING KNIVES WITH GROUPS .... beyond the pointless pointy stick with Mel from Wildly Curious

This workshop is suitable for those wishing to improve their confidence and competence in providing safe activities with knives.

~ To consider the safety aspects and practicalities for managing knife use with groups of young people

~ To equip participants with some knife skills of their own and offer the opportunity to practice ~ Explore woodcraft and whittling activities and projects

~ Explore factors relating to equipment and resources Workshop participants will also be given a copy of the Wildly Curious “Knife Safety With Groups” booklet

CRAFTING AS CULTURE Natural materials as foundations for culture with Paul Moseley

Forest school communities are in contact with the natural world and in so being have a unique opportunity to nurture a deeper relationship through its materials.

Through child-led exploration and discovery it is possible to support a rich assemblage of moments through crafting. In working with natural materials we are influenced by their qualities, entering into interesting new assemblages. This workshop will explore how craft, enskillment and materials combine to create immersive and responsive relationships with the natural world.

Greenwood Stool Workshop with Mark Clarke

Refresh your tool skills and craft a stool.

We will make a three-leg stool during the session using coppiced hazel for legs and sustainably sourced and native sweet chestnut refreshing and learning new skills, knowledge and understanding along the way. Soft and hard skills are investigated as part of the workshop as well as identifying equipment and methods of working to allow your clients at your location to safely engage with this type of activity. A £10 fee is payable at the workshop if you take your stool away with you. This helps towards materials costs.

Conference opportunities

Workshop Leaders wanted

Are you interested in offering a workshop at the FSA National Conference?  Can you inspire new generations of Forest School Leaders? Select the button below to find out more…

Event Sponsorship

Would you like to sponsor our Conference in 2022 or 2023. Can you support Forest School all over the UK by helping us sustainably run our annual event?  Four packages to choose from with some great incentives…

Stallholders wanted

Do you have a service or product that our delegates would love but struggle to build a rapport virtually?  Get your product in front of 350 delegates from schools and businesses all over the UK….

Advertisements

Would you like to place your product or service in front of our conference delegates in our 10-year celebration conference brochure? With a choice of three sizes of advert, we have options to suit all products and budgets…

Comments from previous FSA conferences

‘Thanks so much for inviting me to be part of your conference. It was one of the warmest and most cohesive conferences I’ve been to in years’

Alison Kriel

Speaker

‘What an amazing weekend! with some incredible and thought-provoking speakers. 

Well organised, great food and absolutely loved last night’s ceilidh! have come home shattered but buzzing!’

Fiona

2021 Delegate

Please pass my thanks on to everyone involved with the wonderful event that was the FSA conference at the weekend. It was simultaneously challenging and uplifting, and felt like a huge covid safe hug! Just what I needed after the last 18 months.
 
I can’t wait for next year
Becky

2021 Delegate

2022 Conference Sponsors

We are grateful to the following sponsors of the 2022 Conference for their support, without their help the conference would not be possible :

“What a great weekend, meeting Forest Schoolers and building on friendships from the last Conference. I learnt so many new ideas too, thanks FSA!”
“As a Forest School Leader I feel energised in my practice, and proud to be part of such a visionary movement! Everyone I spoke to had an inspirational story to tell.”
“A fantastic weekend. Lots of new friends made. Lots of lovely food. The weather was fantastic. Thank you Essex and the FSA. I definitely want to be there next year”

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