What should I bring to a Wild One's session?
The following is recommended for everyone attending a Wild One's session, depending on season (even adult volunteers).
- Woolly hat/sunhat
- Jacket/waterproof coat
- Waterproof trousers
- Spare socks
- Stout shoes/wellies/boots
- Sun cream
Children are responsible for making sure that they take home all of their belongings. We will remind everyone at the end of each session, however we are unable to always keep track of what each individual child brings.
You are welcome to send your child/children with packed lunches or snacks (but due to a number of attendees having nut allergies, please do not bring nuts in to the woods). Sometimes we will cook campfire treats, please make sure we are made aware of any dietary requirements.
What is your behaviour policy?
A good standard of behaviour 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.
Our main rules are:
-Paying attention at circle times (at the start and end of every session), so please make sure children arrive on time whenever possible.
-Treating other children and staff with respect.
-No bullying, name calling or teasing of speech impediments/accents.
-No using tools or managing fires until the children have undergone the appropriate safety training.
-No intentional damaging of trees, wildlife or equipment.
-No running in the shelter if the fire is lit.
Paying attention at Circle Time is a compulsory part of the Wild One's groups. Circle times should usually only last up to 5 minutes and is when we will advise the children of any new hazards, equipment or areas, as well as discuss the upcoming activities. Circle time also gives the children an opportunity to let us know of any issues they have and any future activities that they would like us to provide.
If children repeatedly refuse to pay attention at circle time and/or talk over the leaders or other children, we willhave to discuss this with their parents.
What is your cancellation policy for weekly groups?
We do not cancel for rain or cold weather, we will only cancel a session if there is very high winds, due to the risk of branches falling from trees. If we have to cancel a session, we will either try to run an extra session, or offer the next block of six at the price of five (depending on season).
The full payment of £39 is due before the beginning of the 6 week block. 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. If you know that your child will not be returning for the next block, please let us know before the end of the previous block, as this gives us time to fill their space.
Please ensure that children arrive before the start of the sessions, and if you know that your children will not be attending a session, please let us know whenever possible before the start of session, as this means that the session can start promptly.
Badge Scheme: New for 2020
As of March 2020, we will be introducing a new badge scheme for our regular weekly groups. Badges and certificates will be offered for:
-Fire lighting and safety
All children can work at their own speed and are under no obligation or pressure to work towards badges at all if they do not want to. All children (even regular attendees) will start at level 1 and will have the opportunity to gradually work up to level 3.
Most assessments for these will be informal, and based on observations made throughout the sessions, however, for a few, such as fire safety and tool use, they will not able be able to use knifes, axes etc or manage the fire until they have proved that they are capable of doing so safely.
Use of Tools and Equipment at Wild One's
No children will be able to use tools until they have completed tool safety training.
Tools and safe use of tools will be carefully managed by the Wild One's Leader, with an area of the site set aside for tool use.
- Good practice will be demonstrated by the Wild One's 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 Wild One's Leaders responsibility.
- All resources and equipment are checked regularly.
- Any unsafe, worn out, dirty or damaged equipment is repaired and cleaned, or replaced.
Fires at Wild One's
No children will be able to light the fire, or add wood to it, until they have completed fire safety training.
Before lighting a fire at Wild One's, 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. They are also responsible for supervising children who assisting in maintaining the fire.
- The fire shall be contained within the area marked out within the centre 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 Wild One's:
- Everyone should wash 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.
- All equipment and waste is cleared away.
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, otherwise you are welcome to go for a Wild Wee.
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 Wild One's Leader has an up-to-date certificate in ITC Outdoor First Aid and is in charge of first aid arrangement. All staff have paediatric first aid training. A first aid kit is taken on all sessions.
Wild One's sessions are led by a trained Forest School Leader who has also been trained in safeguarding, supported by members of staff and volunteers, who have also received safeguarding training.
Everyone involved in Wild One's is fully briefed on health and safety, risk assessment of sites and activities. Staff and volunteers are made aware of the relevant Wild One's policies and procedures and ensure that they adhere to the guidance contained within them.
All Wild One's staff and regular volunteers have current DBS checks and first aid training.
Emergency Action Plan
Should the Wild One's 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 Wild One's 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 Wild One's all participants 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.
The sessions will be run slightly differently due to the current situation:
- These sessions will be run more as a come and have fun in the woods and catch up with their friends and will hopefully be a bit of normality for them.
- All children will be expected to wash their hands on arrival and departure, and hand washing facilities will be able throughout the sessions.
- We recommend that you as parents do not mingle in the car park..
- We will not be expecting the children to social distance but we will be reminding them to avoid physical contact where possible.
- Masks will not be compulsory; they are welcome to wear them if you/they prefer, however we will not be wearing masks as it is all outdoors and we want it to feel normal as possible.
- We will be limiting the number of tools available and any that are used will be washed down before it is used by another child, etc.
- We are currently not able to provide snacks or drinks so please ensure that children bring their own water bottles, as well as snacks if they want.
- We will be asking the children to let us know when they use the compost toilet so that we can sanitize it after each use, but please encourage them to use the toilet before leaving home.
- And of course, please keep them at home if they or anyone in your household is showing symptoms of Covid19.