Forest Kindergarten:
HNC Childhood Practice

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Forest Kindergarten (FK) is based on the forest school learning process which models an outdoor school approach for the Early Years and is based around child-centred learning through play. FK offers young children frequent, regular play opportunities outdoors in a natural setting, whatever the weather. In a forward thinking move by South Lanarkshire College (SLC), all HNC Childhood Practice students at the college now participate in FK training as part of their HNC award.

FK aims to foster children’s connections to the natural world, through allowing children to choose activities that suit them while playing outside, observed by practitioners, and, as well as developing key skills they also learn to care for their environment.  

The introduction of the unit (which is supplementary) to the HNC Childhood Practice qualification has proved to be innovative and progressive in meeting current sector demands and equips students with skills valued by employers. Science proves that outdoor play enhances personal child development and improves emotional, intellectual and behavioural development.

Students and Staff tell their Forest Kindergarten Story

Courtney's Story

“I applied for the Foundation Apprenticeship (FA) at South Lanarkshire College as I wanted to gain an understanding of, and experience within the childcare industry. I was really keen to do the course as it gave me time in a college setting and the invaluable opportunity of a work placement.  I loved the fact that I could continue with my other important subjects at school at the same time as studying on the FA course”

Courtney Richardson was heading into S6 at Duncanrig Secondary when she decided to apply for the Social Services: Children and Young People Foundation Apprenticeship course at the College. Courtney had always wanted to become a Primary Teacher and was really excited when her school careers adviser told her there was a college course she could study while still at school.  Courtney was advised that the Foundation Apprenticeship course would be a great stepping-stone to her dream career.

Courtney was accepted onto the FA programme in August 2018 and became South Lanarkshire College’s first ever one-year Foundation Apprenticeship student.  This meant she studied a more intense programme than the two-year cohort.  Courtney’s one-year FA meant that she was in College two days a week for the first few months, before her timetable changed to one day in College and one day on placement per week.  She undertook her placement at East Milton primary in East Kilbride and spent one half day a week in the nursery and the other half day helping in the Primary 1 class.  

Courtney commented

“After completing my Foundation Apprenticeship in just one year, I felt I’d achieved so much. The college classroom and workplace experience gave me the confidence I needed to progress with my childcare ambition”.

Children and Young People Curriculum Manager Lynda McBain said: “Courtney has done so well, we are really proud of her achievements,  she was our first student to complete the FA course in one year which meant, she combined her college work, her school work, her childcare placement all whilst working part time in a salon.  We didn’t hesitate to offer her a place on the HNC Childhood Practice course”

When asked what advice Courtney would give to anyone considering applying for the Social Services: Children and Young People Foundation Apprenticeship course, Courtney said:

“If you’re heading into S5 or S6 in August of this year and you’re considering a career in childcare, then you should take the opportunity to apply for an FA and run with it.  You’ll be taught in a relaxed environment where the assignments and lecturers are fun, you’ll meet new friends from schools across Lanarkshire and you’ll develop your understanding of the what’s involved in a childcare role, which will help you decide the direction your career will take”

Courtney’s now in her final year here at South Lanarkshire College, she will complete her HND Childhood Practice in June of this year and has applied for year three entry to the BA Childhood Studies course at University of the West of Scotland.  Courtney hopes to embark on her PGDE in Primary Education on completion of her BA.

Well done Courtney what a shining example you are!

Ross Love began his career as an apprentice Quantity Surveyor with ISG after leaving school.

Speaking about his apprenticeship, Ross said:

“At the beginning, I had very little knowledge and no experience in the construction industry.  This has never been an issue, as it’s nearly two years on since I started, and I am progressing in my apprenticeship with confidence.  I am meeting the expectations of my employer and working well on the coursework attached.

The South Lanarkshire College  course has been paramount in my learning of the construction industry and has helped me in my day to day job. There have been many times I’ve had a task to do at work, and I have applied the knowledge and skills I have learned in College to carry out and complete what I am doing. This includes: take offs,  looking at clauses in construction contracts etc.

Although Quantity Surveying is a job role in its own right, what you do and how you work can be vastly different depending on the position of your company e.g. a Main Contractor or a Subcontractor. Credit must be given to the course and the lecturers as they try to cover as much as they possibly can in the units from various viewpoints i.e. of how main and sub-contractors would go about their duties in relation to the unit”

The practical knowledge you gain carrying out the job is vital, you gain skills that wouldn’t be possible on a full time course. The combination of College and work experience are the key elements that make me successful in my role.  The apprenticeship I am studying is helping me progress my career.  It’s given me a well-rounded balance of on and off the job learning. The skills, knowledge and confidence I have gained from College is what I use and will continue to use throughout my career”