School in the Woods (Forest School)
Visits to places within the local area
(local shop, local walk, green spaces, post box etc)
Dear parents / carers,
We are pleased to be able to offer School in the Woods (Forest School) sessions to our squirrels using Bordon Inclosure woods. We have been running these sessions in the woods for the last two years, following the Forest school ethos and believe that spending time in this environment offers children new experiences and challenges which will enhance their development and learning in a safe, secure and hands on way. The children are encouraged to investigate and explore but also to respect all living things. Children learn best from first hand experiences. Exploring, playing, and learning using a range of activities, planned by the staff and instigated by the children themselves. Building a sense of independence, high self-esteem and teamwork are important parts of forest school, but health and safety considerations are always of paramount importance.
These sessions will be held each week on alternate days. We will be taking a maximum of 8 children with 2 members of staff. All squirrels will get at least one session per half term. We will be spending about 2 hours of the morning session in the Bordon Inclosure. The children will be walking along Chase Road, then down Canes Lane to get to the Inclosure and will be safely harnessed to our ‘Walkodile’ which means staff will have control of multiple children at one time. We will be taking backpacks with first aid kits, a mobile phone (with all emergency details kept confidentially) and a travel potty for any emergencies. Each child will have a backpack to carry a range of digging tools/magnifying glasses, notebooks and pens. As we will be out for most of the session, we will also be taking a drink and a snack for the children.
We are in regular contact with the Deadwater Valley Rangers who will be supporting us when we require it, we can also use some of their resources if we need to. They will be carrying out our overall risk assessments on the days we are using the Inclosure which gives us peace of mind that it is safe for us to use. We will also carry out our own risk assessments of the areas we will be using. These sessions will run whatever the weather, unless we have been advised not to by the Ranger e.g. extreme winds.
We will provide each child with a full set of waterproofs and a backpack.
The thickness of clothing will depend on the season, but long trousers (jogging bottoms/leggings) and a long sleeve top is ideal for exploring and climbing. When the weather is really cold it’s best to have a few layers. Sun hat/warm hat, gloves and scarf. A sturdy pair of trainers, boots or wellies will be required for the session (plus a spare pair to change into if they are staying all day as they will often get very dirty). It is important that the children wear a good fitting pair of socks, so they don’t rub and in the colder weather a thicker pair of socks is a good idea. Even when its sunny and warm at the start of the morning a cold wind can make a big difference and the woods are shady so can be cold.
Rain will not cause a cancellation unless accompanied by wind. Remember layers are best for warmth and can always be removed if too warm. Please use old clothes and let your child know that they CAN GET DIRTY and you don’t mind! Sun cream should also be applied if weather is hot. Names on clothes and bags would also be very useful.
Our sessions will include:
- Rules/ boundaries and getting to know the environment. (first few sessions)
- Listening (what can they hear?)
- Natural Face (using leaves/sticks/stones)
- Hide and Seek (objects to find)
- Den building
- Bug Hunting
- Bird feeders
Please do not hesitate to speak to me if you have any questions. This will be a wonderful opportunity for your child and we hope they will be able to participate.
Manager, Pollyanna Preschool