What is Forest School?
Forest school is an exciting opportunity for children to experience nature and learn outdoors. At forest school children learn from first hand experiences and develop skills like perseverance, independence and responsibility. These are all skills that will help them throughout their life.
Where is Forest School?
Forest School can take place in any outdoor environment. Our sessions run at various locations in and around Derby, see our bookings page to check locations.
What happens at Forest school?
Each session will vary according to the children or young people attending. Its unique ethos means it is child-centered so whilst leaders will have a plan they will remain flexible so that participants can follow their own interests. Subsequent sessions will then be based on the leaders observations. Sessions aimed at young children are likely to be explorative and creative with experiences like mud kitchens and nature crafts whilst sessions for young people are likely to include tool use, survival skills and cooking on a fire. Every session will be different but all will be fun and exciting!
What if the weather is bad?
In forest school we say “There’s no such thing as bad weather!” We will try to go ahead with sessions in most weathers unless its deemed hazardous, in which case we’ll contact you to let you know. Please see below for notes on clothing.
Are there any toilets?
Every site is different. At some we use camping style toilets and others will have composting toilets. However we will always ensure that nobody has to go behind a bush! Hand washing facilities will always be provided.
What should we bring?
Attendees should bring everything they will need for the time they will be with us. They should bring a drink and a snack (drinking water will be freely available) and if they will be with us for the day they will need a packed lunch. Often we will cook on the campfire and may make warm drinks or snacks so please make sure we are aware of any dietary needs or allergies in advance. They will also need to bring a full change of clothes in case they get wet or cold which should be inside a waterproof bag.
What should we wear?
Attendees need to be dressed appropriately for the weather and to be aware that it can change significantly through the course of a session.
In Autumn and winter we recommend wearing layers – lots of them, you can always take layers off if you get too hot but once you get cold its very difficult to get warm. Waterproof jackets are essential and if your child doesn’t have waterproof trousers we would highly recommend getting some – you will save so many clothes in the long run! Jogging bottoms or leggings are comfortable and work well under waterproofs and can be layered. On the top we recommend 3 layers such as a long sleeved top, a jumper or fleece and coats. In winter hats and gloves should be worn, preferably waterproof.
In summer long sleeved tops and trousers are still sensible; as well as protecting from scratches and stings they also provide protection from the sun.
Sturdy footwear is essential and open toed sandals will not be accepted as are considered a safety hazard.
Will my child learn at Forest School?
Children learn when they are interested in what they are doing and enjoying themselves, our sessions are planned to be fun and exciting so undoubtedly they will learn. When planning a Forest School session we think about "the whole child" and plan holistically; each session is designed to give opportunities to develop socially, physically, intellectually, creatively, emotionally and spiritually.
Will my child be safe?
Sites will be risk assessed prior to every session and attendees made aware of any potential hazards. However at Forest School we use a risk / benefit analysis approach where we weigh up the potential risk against the benefits of a particular activity, we believe this is a more beneficial approach than the risk averse approach that exists in much of our society. Children will be supported to participate in activities which challenge them at the same time as being encouraged to think about their own safety and that of others. Part of forest school is allowing children to take managed risks, for example balancing on an obstacle course or climbing a tree so that they learn through real life experiences. There will be a First Aid kit on site and leaders are qualified First Aiders.
We also have the following policies in place to protect children and young people and ensure that all participants have the best possible experience, these are available on request:
Positive behaviour policy
Sickness / Medication policy
Accident / Incident policy
Equal opportunities / Inclusion policy
Privacy and data retention policy
Health and Safety policy
If you have any further questions drop us an email and we will do our best to help