What should I bring to a Forest School session?
The following is reccomended for everyone attending a Forest School session, depending on season (even adult volunteers).
- Woolly hat/sunhat
- Jacket/waterproof coat
- Waterproof trousers
- Spare socks
- Stout shoes/wellies/boots
- Sun cream
You are welcome to send your child/children with packed lunches or snacks. At most sessions we will be doing campfire treats.
Do I need to fill out a Consent Form?
Yes. Each parent will be required to fill out a Consent Form which will include their medical and emergency contact details. These forms will be in the bag carried by the Forest School Leader at every session.
Do you have a woodland toilet?
We have a compost toilet with wheelchair access, otherwise you can go for a Wild Wee.
What is your behavior policy?
A good standard of behavior will be expected by everyone, to ensure the safety and well-being of all children and adults on site. As a child led, outdoor group, we have very few rules, but the ones that we do have MUST be followed by ALL attendees, staff and volunteers regardless of age, ability or group, as these rules are in place to ensure the safety of all children and adults.
What is your cancellation policy for weekly groups?
We will only cancel a session if there is very high winds, due to branches falling off trees. If we cancel a session, you can either have an extra session free after the sessions you have paid for or we could refund you for that session.
If you miss a session unfortunately we cannot refund except in extreme circumstances. The sessions are pre-paid in a 6 week block as we are only able to cater for 16 children at a session.
Cancelling Your Bookings for Events:
If you need to cancel your place, please contact us as soon as possible. All cancellations are subject to a 10% admin fee. Cancellations made within 1 week of the event start date are chargeable in full. However, if we are able to fill your space then you will be offered a refund, minus the 10% admin fee.
We believe children benefit and get more from our sessions if they are dropped off. This gives them the opportunity to learn to manage their own risks in a safe environment, become independent, build confidence and self-awareness. As our sessions are child led, having parents there can really restrict their creativity and ability to lead and learn from each other.
We do however run family days where all children and relatives are invited to attend, as we understand that parents enjoy being in the woods too.
What happens at a session?
They will have the chance to spend time in nature, feel connected to nature and grow to respect it. These sessions are child led, although optional activities are available. They can go explore and get the alone time they need, burn off energy, feel the accomplishment of making something, and working as a team, helping each other and skill sharing. Activities are planned before each session (with input from the children from last session), but activities may change depending on how the group are feeling that day or what we think may benefit them that day.
Health and Safety
Wild About Learning aims to support children to develop responsibility for themselves and others. It will encourage early risk management strategies that will ensure that young children start to consider the impact of their actions on themselves and on others.
The Forest School Leader has an up-to-date certificate in ITC Outdoor First Aid and is in charge of first aid arrangement. All staff have first aid training. A first aid kit is taken on all sessions.
Forest School sessions are led by a trained Forest School Leader who has also been trained in safeguarding, supported by members of staff and volunteers.
Everyone involved in Forest School is fully briefed on health and safety, risk assessment of sites and activities. Staff and volunteers are made aware of the relevant Forest School policies and procedures and ensure that they adhere to the guidance contained within them.
All Forest School staff and regular volunteers have current DBS checks and first aid training.
What risk assessments have you done?
We have risk assessments for the sites we use as well as the activities that we do, such as tool use and fire activities.
Emergency Action Plan
Should the Forest School leader become incapacitated, then the second leader will be in charge. If for some reason both leaders are out of action (very unlikely), children are informed that there is a mobile phone in the Forest School leader bag. Children will be informed that in case of a serious emergency to ring 999, if it is not a serious emergency there is a form with the mobile phone listing all of their parents phone numbers.
Missing Child Policy
The boundaries of the sites will be made clear to the children and they will be expected to stay within them. In the unlikely case of a child going missing, all other children will be brought back to base camp, while the second leader goes to look for the missing child. Parents will be informed.
Equality and Inclusion
During Forest School all persons are treated equally. We aim to provide a secure environment in which children can flourish and in which all contributions are valued. We run a range of different groups for different ages and abilities, from parent and toddler groups up to a pensioner social group. As well as our weekly drop off groups we also have dedicated ALN groups organized and funded by DASH.
Policy and Procedures for Lighting Fires at Forest School
Before lighting a fire at Forest School, the following should be in place: Children must have a secure knowledge of fire circle safety:
- Children are not allowed to cross the circle or step into the inner circle without permission.
- Children with long hair will have to have it tied up when to fire activities.
- No running near the fire.
When lighting a fire:
- A fire attendant will be designated to take responsibility for the fire. They shall be responsible for lighting it, manning it while it is burning and putting it out at the end of the session.
- The fire shall be contained within the area marked out within the center of the fire circle. The ground around shall be cleared of flammable material.
- Have a container of water beside the fire to put it out and another container to deal with burns.
- The fire attendant is responsible for extinguishing the fire and leaving no trace, ensuring the Safety of our group and the Public.
All adults and children are aware of the following when cooking and eating at Forest School:
- Everyone should wipe their hands before handling food and drink.
- All foods are stored in air tight containers.
- Only clean equipment is used.
- All staff and volunteers are aware of any special dietary needs of the children who have food allergies and any medication they may be taking.
- All equipment and waste is cleared away.
Policy and Procedures for Use of Tools and Equipment at Forest School
Tools and safe use of tools will be carefully managed by the Forest School Leader, with an area of the site set aside for tool use.
- Good practice will be demonstrated by the Forest School Leader at all times.
- All tools will be returned to the tool bag and locked away at the end of each session. This is the Forest School Leaders responsibility.
- All resources and equipment are checked regularly.
- Any unsafe, worn out, dirty or damaged equipment is repaired and cleaned, or replaced.