In partnership with Bonnie McNabb from All About the Calm, we offer regular Forest School sessions aimed at 5 to 11 year olds (although if you have an older sibling or child that you think would benefit from our sessions please get in touch as this age range is a guideline)
Sessions run every Wednesday from 10am in Shining Cliff Woods. Although we are starting by offering a weekly 3 hour session, we are hoping to be able to extend this to 4.5 hour sessions.
Our ethos is to provide a child-led outdoor experience, where the children have the opportunity to learn how to make decisions together about what they choose to engage in, there is an emphasis on working together to understand how to look after ourselves, each other and the woodland, working towards the concept of ‘Leave No Trace’ of our activities in the woodland.
What does a ‘typical’ day look like at our Forest School?
There is no typical day, as the session activities are very much guided by the interests of the children. However, we feel it is important for the children to have a routine in the session, so they know what to expect and when.
A day will start by meeting by the car park in the woods, where we have a moment to gather together, find out how we are all doing, and talk about what we might like to do that day. We then head off into the woods, sometimes using the Woodland Hut fire-pit area as our base, or going off exploring to build dens, explore in the streams, play games, or whatever the children find that interests and engages them!
The session will always include invitations for the children to engage in, for example using tools, learning a new skill, building on existing skills and natural crafting, but there is a strong element of encouraging free play within our ethos of looking after ourselves, looking after each other and looking after the woodland.
The session will always end with a plenary, where we gather together to reflect on the session and discuss what we would like to explore in the next session.
Bonnie and Kate are both Level 3 Forest School Leaders and have years of experience in working with children in school and outdoor settings. We are both DBS checked and fully ensured to lead Forest School sessions. All risk assessments and policies can be seen on request by email.
Can I attend with my child?
We have considered this very carefully, and tried out both approaches, as we see the benefit to parents/carers being able to spend time meeting other parents/carers.
We have decided to focus on the experience of the child, and they will behave differently and have a different experience when their adult is present. So we ask that you leave your child with the group, and come back at the end of the session to collect them.
Can I use childcare vouchers?
Not at the moment, but we are working to get this in place in 2022.