What Happens at Forest School

Forest School Procedures

Working Together ~ What We Do & How We Do It

Please have a read through and familiarise yourself and your children with how things work at Forest School. Each session we remember to take care of ourselves, each other and the woods and wildlife. We hope you enjoy your Beautiful Beginnings Family Forest School experiences, and please always come and speak to Clare if you would like to ask anything.

Entering the Woodland
We meet in the car park at Wellington Farm and families are encouraged to use cafe toilet facilities.

Please bring everything you need for the session with your from your car. We walk to the woodland together andfollow the route set out by the Forest School Leader.

We will explore the woodland, learn and play, but  never damage the woodland environment. Please be aware of cars and moving farm machinery and walk slowly and quietly past animals.

 

Boundaries
Before each session begins and during any transitions the group is made aware of how far they can explore. Fixed boundaries are explained and marked each session and the woodland at Wellington Farm is enclosed.  Participants must not enter areas signed as No
Entry by the farm. Wellington Farm is a working farm and machinery poses high risk.

Children are introduced to the game ‘ 123 where are you…’ which is practised often. Children respond ‘123 We’re here’ . This game is used to keep connection with children wherever they are in the woodland, and also to recall group as necessary.

Picking Up and Playing With Sticks
Children are encouraged to pick up sticks from the forest floor for imaginative play. No sticks are permitted to be broken from trees.
Children can play with sticks of a reasonable length (assessed each session) and to be mindful of how they interact with others to prevent harm and keep everyone safe.
No sticks directed near heads and faces.
Parents please supervise your children’s stick play!

Be aware of thorns on Hawthorn.

Picking Up and Playing With Stones, Mud and Other Materials
Children enjoy collecting stones, pine cones, leaves and other forest materials to create, build and play. We encourage children to be mindful of wildlife habitats. Children also enjoy mud play and are encouraged to dress in waterproofs so this can be enjoyable.

No sticks, stones, mud or other material may be thrown in the direction of other children.

We never pick or touch any mushrooms or fungi. If children find glass they are asked to report this to an adult who can remove it from site.
Litter and Hazards
The Forest School Leader checks the site for litter, glass and nails before each session. The woodland is private, so littering isn’t a significant problem.
Parents are also asked to be vigilant to potential hazardous items. If anything potentially hazardous such as glass or nails are found, children must not touch this themselves, but inform an adult who will safely remove items and place them outside of the woodland boundary.

Children are reminded each session not to touch barbed wire, sheep droppings or fungi.

Tree Climbing
Tree climbing is fun and brings many physical and educational benefits but is not without risk.
Children are permitted to climb to adult head height initially. Boundaries are reviewed over time and as children’s experience grows.
Parents please stay close to tree when children climb and to stay tuned to needs of your child.
Children are taught to check for dead branches, to place feet close to tree trunk and to climb down independently.
Jumping from tree is not encouraged, children are asked to climb down.

 

Rope, String & Slackline Use
Rope, wool and string are used in crafting, lashing sticks together, knots, putting up tarps, swings and rope bridges and the slackline is great fun for balancing.
Children are not permitted to tie each other up or tie ropes around their own bodies.
String and rope to be neatly wound and stored away after use.

Handwashing

Children get muddy through touching, playing and exploring items they find in nature. Our site does not have running water, so I provide buckets, clean water in bottles, anti-bacterial hand wash, anti-bacterial hand sanitizer gel, towels and wipes. Please decide on your own level of hand washing for your child and use the equipment provided. Remember there may be sheep droppings on the ground, children are reminded not to touch these, but please ensure good levels of hand washing before eating.

Eating and Drinking
Children are not permitted to eat or drink anything they find in the woodland unless this is part of a pre-planned activity such as blackberry picking. Please supervise babies & toddlers!
Children are taught about dangers of mushrooms and fungi and told never to touch or eat this. Cooking will be part of our activities some sessions and we provide hot chocolate and snacks for each session, and families to bring own packed lunches. Please include any allergies and dietary requirements on your registration form.

At The Fire Circle
Fire activities will be introduced once children have settled into Forest School and are able to follow boundaries and instructions. Fire activities are always at the discretion of the Forest School Leader and follow a set protocol.

A Fire Circle designates the boundary of the fire and children are taught to move around outside the fire circle. Safe kneeling position is taught, and gloves and fire safety equipment are provided.Children are taught how to set, light, enjoy and extinguish fires safely.

 

 

Using Tools
Using tools offers children new and exciting challenges where they can develop new skills and creativity. Over time they may use saws, drills, knives and peelers. Each tool has its own Code of Conduct which is introduced to children each time a tool is used.
Code of Conduct includes personal protective equipment, specific body posture when using tool, storage, moving and handling, space between children during tool use. Full Risk Assessments apply to each tool.

Tool use is introduced once children are familiar and comfortable with Forest School ethos and boundaries and are able to follow instruction, and always at the discretion of the Forest School Leader.

Leaving The Site
Children are not permitted to leave the boundary of the site, and adults are asked to inform the Leader if they are taking their children from the site before the end of the session.
We close the session with a review of everyone’s experiences. We tidy away equipment and scan the site for any litter or belongings then collect all personal and group equipment and leave the site together along the designated route, closing all farm gates behind us.
Toilet Facilities

There isn’t a toilet in the woodland we use. Families are advised to use toilet facilities in Café before walking to woodland. If toilet is needed during sessions a designated toilet area is available behind a tarpaulin. Parents to accompany children with toileting at all times and remain responsible for own children. If preferred adults may accompany children to toilets in café.

Cancellation of Sessions
Forest School ethos encourages children to experience the woodland in all weathers and we will ensure there are shelter up for rainy days and warm drinks for cold days. If weather such as strong wind, heavy rain or storms are forecast, sessions may be cancelled and participants will be informed the evening before the session.

 

Booking Sessions

Sessions run as a blocks of 4-6 weeks as part of the long-term learning ethos of Forest School. Group sizes are limited so things don’t feel too rushed or busy and children and families have quality experiences and the opportunity to get to know one another and develop friendships.

Sessions must be pre-booked and paid for in advance.

Please inform Clare in advance if you are unable to attend a session you have booked by text on 07906188345.

Responsibility & Provision

Parents/guardians remain responsible for supervision of their children at all times. Please remember to bring wellies and waterproofs for all attending (if you forget or don’t have them, ask as we have some spares) and remember to bring lunch. You can see the full Kit List here.
The Forest School Leader will have responsibility for all Risk Assessments and group activities. Please read our Forest School Agreement here.