What equipment is required for my child to attend? If your child is attending a play group then we suggest warm layers and wellies. In wet weather an all in one waterproof rain suit helps them explore the messy play without you worrying too much about keeping them 'clean'!
If your child is attending a Forest School holiday club session or Birthday Party with us, we will email you beforehand to confirm what they need. This may be slightly different depending on the type of group (i.e. an after school club or a parent and toddler group), session time, seasonal weather variations and the specific location. Contact us through the contact tab if you need to know about this before deciding to sign up to a group.
What equipment is required for my school to start a 6 week program? If you are a Head Teacher considering having us into your school setting we can come to visit you to help establish what the site requirements are and what extra equipment you may want to enhance the learning experience of you pupils. In general, Forest School programmes can be run well with very little equipment. We already have a set of tools and gloves and always supply health and safety essentials such as a first aid kit.
The key is finding a good site. If you have a woodland or nature reserve on site then we will need to gather some information and do a short site survey to consider what activities are appropriate. Otherwise there may be a copse or public woodland nearby which is suitable, providing we have got permission to use it.
Where are you? Our Forest School Sessions are run at various sites around the Reading area. See the relevant page of our website (i.e. 'Wild Wednesdays' or 'Birthday Parties') for a google map to that group location.
What do you provide? For all of our sessions we provide the necessary First Aid and safety equipment, as well as trained staff. For some sessions we are able to provide water proof clothing and rucksacks for the children to carry their water bottles in. We also have shelters, ropes and tools, depending on the sessions which we decide to run.
Can children with Special Educational Needs be a part of Forest School? Yes. As a trained Horticultural Therapist I can testify that Forest School is often a flourishing environment for children with 'SEN'. The woodland environment can be a very therapeutic environment for children and young people to play and learn in. With the necessary adult ratios and considerate planning according to ability and need, the Forest School environment can be a very beneficial setting, where children often exceed expectations. In addition children with challenging behavour can thrive from a forest school programme which is well designed and planned, although the ratios are usually higher.
Is playing in the woods, lighting fires and using tools actually safe? We live in an extremely risk averse world, which many now argue is not actually 'safe' or healthy for our children. Forest School calls for a balance of risk versus benefit, and recognises what can be gained by children being exposed to low level manged risk. The results are quite surprising. In general, exposing children to what society might regard as 'risky' activities, (with good teaching, forethought and correct supervision) results in smarter, healthier, happier children. Who knew it!?
Of course risk is always considered in all of our Forest School programmes with a risk:benefit analysis. Risk is never introduced prematurely or foolhardily. We have safety procedures which require the full active involvement of all the children for tools, fire and den building. Children are taught to respect the power of the fire, appreciate the strength of their tools and consider each other in the woodland setting. Everything is done as a team, teaching the children to be aware of the effect they have on each other as well as respecting the need for their personal safety.
Are you insured? Yes, I have public liability insurance.
If you have any other questions not answered here, please get in touch through the >> contact << tab.