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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Our Kenning Poems

Our wild weather walk around the locality has been inspiring us to write Kenning poems. Here is a taster of a few of them.


Tree  smasher, 
House  crasher,  
Water splasher
Bin trasher,
Wind.

By Haroon




Fast trotter,
 Great racer,
Mane swinger,
Tail wafter,
Horse,

by Hannah 




Puddle  splasher,
Big  trotter,
Hole  maker,
View  looker,
Wind  seeker,
Human  dragger,
Scent finder,
Horse.

by Aatqa



Fast trotter, 
Racer winner ,
Fast eater,
Tail wafter,
Horse.

By Paige



Feathery swooper,
Noisy pecker,
Seagull.

By Moniba




Tree  squeaking,  
Wind  blowing,  
House  smashing,
Water  floating,
Wind.

By Luqman



Earth scraper,
Leaf lifter,
branch waver,
Hail dropper,
Hood dragger,
Wind.

By Jessica




Friday, 23 January 2015

Snow much fun

This week, our woodland was transformed into a winter wonderland. As we walked down the bridleway into the woods the children squealed with excitement exclaiming that it was like entering Narnia. We ventured through the enchanting scenery to a part of the woodland that some of the group had visited before. Along the way we spotted the patterns and trails of animals and other visitors to the woodland.

Sycamore and Beech group both chose to visit their woodland playground area where they had created a mud slide in the autumn, the perfect place to build a snow slide. 

Following on from our session last week when we discussed our basic survival needs - food, water, warmth and shelter; this week we thought about how inhabitants of our woodland meet their survival needs. We have been thinking in particular about how some animals survive the winter months by creating food stores and hibernating. 


At the beginning of the session the children were set a challenge. In pairs, they were given a warm bottle of water. They had were invited to imagine that it was a woodland creature and choose a place where it could keep warm over the winter. Some of the children decided their animals were owls and hunted for hollows in trees to hide them in. Others decided that their animals were moles and foxes and would be more sheltered underground. They covered them with soil, moss, twigs and leaves. Once their animals were safely stashed, the children went off to explore the woodland.





Holly group found glass-like sheets of ice that had formed over their favourite splashing puddles. They were fascinated by the air bubbles trapped in the ice.
Taking care of our basic needs





Checking the temperature of our 'hibernating animals'
Walking in to Narnia




Snow sliding





Monday, 19 January 2015

Dressing for Forest School

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The Spring term Forest School groups began their sessions this week. The first session begins with an introduction to how to dress for Forest School. It is particularly important this time of year, when the weather can be very cold and wet, to dress appropriately.

Dressing for Forest School:

BASE LAYER

Thermal vest/ thin long sleeve t-shirt/ pyjama top

Long johns/fleece lined or woolen tights/leggings/pyjama trousers

2 pairs of socks or thermal socks.

INNER LAYER

School shirt and jumper/hoodie/sweater

School Trousers/Jogging bottoms (not cotton if possible as they are heavy and cold when wet)

OUTER LAYER

Waterproof trousers

Waterproof jacket

Wellingtons with thick long socks or welly liners/walking boots

Woolen or fleece hat

Gloves

As we love getting muddy at Forest School it is better to wear old clothes. It is also a good idea to have a spare pair of socks to change into after the session. The children are welcome to bring old clothes to change into for their Forest School session if you are worried about their uniform getting dirty. We provide all children with a waterproof jacket and trousers to wear but as the children tend to be very physical during Forest School, mud does find its way up sleeves, jackets and trouser legs!

Monday, 12 January 2015

A New (Wet and Muddy!) Term at Forest School.







Our Spring term Forest School sessions have kicked off this week to a backdrop of decidedly wet and windy weather. Unfortunately for Willow group this morning, the winds were too strong for us to visit our woodland, but not to be put off, after their induction session, we headed out on to the playground for some wet and muddy fun.


After setting their boundaries, Willow group played their first game of 123 Where are you? They quickly realised that their boundary area did not afford them many hiding places, so re-evaluated their positioning.

Next, the children went off to explore the area and find things that interested them. Marwa was immediately drawn to the slippery grass embankment which she could not resist sliding down. Before long we had an inpressive mud slide and a queue of children eager to slide down. We agreed to have just one area for mud sliding so as not to cause too much damage to the grass. 

After getting thoroughly muddy, there were plenty of big puddles to clean off in. After a fun filled but rather chilly hour of splashing around, Willow group headed inside to dry off and warm up with a much needed cup of hot chocolate. The children discussed their feelings about their first Forest School session. Most of the children said that they had felt happy and excited about starting Forest School. Subhaan said he had felt a little scared about sliding down the mud slide, but felt proud of himself after doing it. Some of the children said that had felt a bit uncomfortable when their clothes got wet even when wearing the waterproofs and have said they well remember to bring spare clothes for the session next week.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Forest School Checklist

What to do before the session:

·        Go to the toilet.
·        Get gloves, scarf, hat out of locker and boots if you have brought your own.
·        Collect wellies from welly rack or Forest School room if using school ones.
·        Measure yourself to find out what colour waterproofs you need.
·        Tuck your school trousers into your socks.
·        Put on your waterproof jacket and trousers.
·        Put on your boots.
·        Pull your waterproof trousers over your wellies and pull the boot strap under your welly.
·        Put on your hat and gloves if it is cold.
·        Check that the Forest School Leader has any medicine that you need.
·        Find a partner and quietly for the rest of the group to get ready.

 What to do during the session:

·        Walk in pairs to the woods, making sure to stop, look and listen when we need to cross roads.
·        Help with the daily risk assessment and boundary setting.
·        Stay inside the boundary area.
·        Take care of yourself, others, equipment and nature.
·        If three whistles sound go straight back to the base tree.
·        Ask before taking any tools out of the bag and put them back when you have finished.
·        Get in your pair ready to walk back to school.

What to do after the session:

·        Walk quietly in to school.
·        Take your waterproofs and boots off.
·        Change your socks if they are wet.
·        Turn your waterproofs the correct way round and hang them on a peg.
·        Put your boots away in their pair (on the welly rack or in the Forest School room)
·        Put your gloves, socks, hat back in your locker.

·        Wash your hands.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Fagley Primary Forest School Handbook

 

Contents
                                                                             
Forest School Policy
Use of Personal Protective Equipment Procedure          
Using Tools Procedures                                                             
Looking After Tools Procedure                                             
Campfire Procedure
Emergency Action Plan                                                              
Role of the Forest School Leader                                           
Helper’s Guide to Forest School
Personal Information Form
Risk Benefit Assessments
Practitioner Training & First Aid Certificates
Ecological Impact Assessments
Woodland Management Plan                                             
                                                 

Forest School Policy

Contents
a)         Aims of Forest School
b)         Environmental Considerations
c)         Health and Safety
d)         Child Protection and Safeguarding
e)         Equality and Inclusion
f)          Cancellation Procedure
g)         Evaluation Procedure

a)      Aims of Forest School

The aim of Forest School at Fagley Primary is to build on the children’s innate motivation and positive attitude to learning; to engage with them with the outdoors and to foster a love, respect, understanding and responsibility for our environment.
The children will be offered opportunities, through practical activities, to take beneficial risks whilst building on their decision making, creative thinking and problem solving skills.
We strive to promote the forming of positive relationships and a growing awareness of their emotional needs and the needs of others.

b)      Environmental Concerns

Awareness of our impact on the environment is one of the core considerations for our Forest School programme. Guided by the Countryside Code ‘Leave No Trace’ principles we will aim to minimise the impact caused by Forest School activities.

School Site:

Where possible, recycled, reclaimed and sustainable products and resources will be used to maintain and develop the school site. Regular site surveys will be carried out in collaboration with the Site Manager and steps will be taken to mitigate any unavoidable impact of Forest School activities. Our three year management plan will outline areas in which we will look to enrich our school environment and provide a range of new habitats for flora and fauna. Adults will model best practice and children will be involved where possible in site assessments and site management.

Ravenscliffe Wood Site:

Currently, approximately 80 children per week take part in Forest School sessions. Sessions are spread out across the woodland to prevent excessive impact in any one area. Regular site surveys will be carried out and steps will be taken to mitigate any unavoidable impact of Forest School activities. Any concerns arising from the surveys will be passed on to the Land Manager (Leeds City Council). Educating participants in sessions about the flora and fauna in Ravenscliffe Wood will raise understanding of protected species present and how they can be safeguarded. Adults will model best practice and children will be involved where possible in site assessments and site management.  The Forest School Leaders are keen to liaise with the land manager and local environmental or community groups to discuss ways in which we can have a positive environmental impact on the woodland.

c)       Health and Safety

Everyone in Forest School is informed of the health and safety procedures and risk assessments of the site and activities. Staff and volunteers should be made aware of the relevant school policies and ensure that they adhere to the guidance contained within them.  All staff and volunteers will be required to complete the personal information form prior to taking part in sessions. The Forest School Leader will carry out a site assessment each term. Prior to commencing Forest School Sessions, a daily risk assessment will be carried out and acted upon accordingly (including informing the Land Manager where deemed appropriate). Due to the child-led nature of Forest School dynamic risk assessment will take place during sessions.
Currently, Forest School sessions take place in Ravenscliffe Wood and occasionally on the school site
Appropriate clothing and footwear is to be worn at all times by staff, volunteers and children (including appropriate PPE for relevant activities).
When Forest School sessions take place on site, the school toilets can be used. Where Forest School activities take place in Ravenscliffe Wood, children will be encouraged to use the toilet before leaving school. When unavoidable, the children will be permitted to go to the toilet in the woodland (see woodland toileting procedure).  
Hands will be washed or cleaned with hand wipes prior to the handling and consumption of food.
The Forest School Leader will hold current outdoor, emergency and paediatric first aid certificates.
The Forest School Leader will have an emergency rucksack containing the following:
·         Risk Assessments for the day
·         First aid kit (in green bag with white cross on)
·         Medical and emergency contact details of participants and any inhalers/epi-pens
·         Mobile phone
·         Drinking water
·         Spare clothing
·         Personal protective clothing
·         Survival bag
·         Foil blankets
·         Hand wipes/cleaning gel
·         Burns kit (where appropriate)

Emergency Procedure: 

A mobile phone should be kept on site at all times (phone signal should be checked prior to commencing each session).
The Forest School Leader (or other trained first aiders) will be responsible for administering emergency first aid and ensuring safety of the remainder of the group.
Any medical emergency beyond immediate temporary care should be referred to the appropriate medical staff based at a hospital. If off the school site at the time of the emergency, the school should be telephoned and advised of the situation. (Follow up calls to relevant parties will be made by the school office).

Accidents/first aid administered to be recorded in school accident book.
The legal framework for this guidance is:

·         In loco parentis
·         Health and Safety at Work Act (1974)
·         Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999)
·         Health and Safety (first aid) Regulations(1981)
·         Children Act (1989)
·         Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulations (1992)
·         Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) (1995)
·         The Protection of Children Act (1999)
·         Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (2002)
Please also refer to general Fagley Primary Health and Safety Policy.

d)      Child Protection and Safeguarding

Safeguarding statement:  At Fagley Primary we are committed to providing a caring, friendly and safe environment for all of our pupils so they can learn in a calm and secure atmosphere. We believe every pupil should be able to participate in all school activities in an enjoyable and safe environment and be protected from harm. This is the responsibility of every adult employed by, or invited to deliver, services at Fagley Primary School. We recognise our responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of all our pupils by protecting them from physical, sexual or emotional abuse, neglect and bullying.
Key members of staff will have child protection training and all members of staff are aware of the Named Persons (Mrs C. Parfitt, Mrs C. Blythe) and the procedure for passing on a concern to the Named Persons.
The Forest School Leader will have enhanced DBS clearance. Regular volunteers attending Forest School will also be DBS cleared.  Where a volunteer or member of staff does not hold a current DBS certificate, they should not be left unsupervised with children at any time.
In-line with school policies on the use of photographs and digital recording media, children may be filmed or photographed during Forest School sessions (providing the school holds parental permission to do so).
Minimum staff/child ratios for Forest School are 1:6 (minimum of 2 adults for off-site visits).
Please also refer to the Fagley Primary Safeguarding and Child Protection Policies.

e)       Equality and Inclusion

In Forest School sessions, all participants should be treated equally.
In Forest School we are dedicated to providing a safe and secure environment in which everyone’s contribution is valued.
Inclusion and the celebration of diversity and equality are at the heart of everything we do in Forest School.
An Individual Care Plan will be put in place to support children with additional needs (e.g. Medical, SEN/D, SEBD).
The Forest School Leader will be trained in positive handling and de-escalation procedures. Should a situation arise in which the conduct of any participants of the session put any members of the group at risk, the Forest School Leader will telephone school to request assistance.
The legal framework for this guidance is:

·         Race Relations Act 1976;
·         Race Relations Amendment Act 2000;
·         Sex Discrimination Act 1986;
·         Children Act 2004;
·         Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001.

f)        Cancellation Procedure

There may be times when Forest School sessions need to be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. These may be:
Staff Illness – which prevents staff/child ratios being met.
Severe weather conditions (in particular, high winds)
Any situation deemed to pose a risk to health and safety.
In the event of cancellation during the normal school day (prior to session commencement) children will remain in their form classes.
Should a risk to health and safety arise during a session, the group will return to school (if further adult assistance be required, the Forest School Leader will telephone school to request assistance).
In the event of cancellation outside of the normal school day parents will be contacted via telephone as soon as possible.

g)      Evaluation Procedure

In order to develop the Forest school and ensure best practice is maintained the following evaluation procedures will be followed:
·         Evaluation from the children at the end of their Forest School sessions via verbal or visual feedback and through Forest School evaluation sheets/blogging.
·         Evaluation and reflection from all staff involved in Forest School.
A range of evaluation tools will be used including written evaluations, mind maps, questionnaires, floor books and photographs. The Forest School leader will reflect and act on the evaluations provided by children, staff and volunteers to inform future planning.

USE OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT IN FOREST SCHOOL
Forest School Situation
Personal Protective Equipment
Explanation why the Personal Protective Equipment is needed
Winter
Warm hat and gloves
Waterproofs
Fleece jacket
Long sleeved top
Long trousers
Thick socks
Boots
Warmth
To stay dry
Warmth, prevent exposure
Warmth, protect from scratches, stings and insect bites
Warmth
Warmth, Protect feet from hazards on forest floor or dropped objects
Summer
Sun hat
Long sleeved top
Long trousers
Boots

Sun cream/insect repellent
Prevent sun burn, heat exhaustion
Protect from sun and prevent scratches stings and bites
Protect feet from hazards on forest floor or dropped objects
Protect from sunburn, stings and bites
Collecting natural materials
Gloves
Long sleeved top
Long trousers
Weather appropriate outer clothing
Protect hands from prickles and scratches
Protect from scratches, stings and insect bites

Using a bow saw to cut a length of wood
Glove on non tool hand
Long sleeve top
Long trousers
Weather appropriate outer clothing
Boots
Grip and protect hand if tool slips
Warmth, protect from scratches, stings and insect bites

Protect feet from hazards on forest floor or dropped objects and tool blade
Using a bill hook to take the side branches off lengths of wood
Glove on non tool hand
Long sleeved top
Long trousers
Weather appropriate outer clothing
Boots
Grip and protect hand if tool slips
Warmth, protect from scratches, stings and insect bites

Protect feet from hazards on forest floor or dropped objects and tool blade
Campfire cooking
Natural/non flammable close fitting clothing
Fire resistant gloves
Walking/safety boots
Reduce risk of fabric catching fire

Protect hands from burns and scalds
Protect feet from hazards on forest floor or dropped objects and burns
Walking to the woodland
High visibility vest
Weather appropriate clothing
Walking boots
Can be seen by FS leader and  drivers
Comfort, warmth, sun protection
Comfort, to protect feet once at woodland
Transporting Logs
Long sleeved top
Long trousers
Weather appropriate outer clothing
Gloves
Safety Boots
Warmth, protect from scratches, stings and insect bites

Prevent friction burns, scratches
Protect feet from hazards on forest floor or dropped objects


PROCEDURES FOR USING TOOLS

Tool name: Billhook

To use safely:

The billhook can be used for splitting wood and removing side branches from lengths of wood.
Check the billhook is in safe working order before using.
Check the area for hazards at all levels including dead wood at canopy level and trip hazards at field level.
Use the billhook at a distance of two arms and a tool’s length from other people.
Sit in a kneeling position with on knee on the ground (respect position).
When working in pairs remember to make eye contact and ensure both parties are ready before using the tool.
Ensure item to be cut is on a level surface.
Pass the tool by the handle with the blade facing upwards.
When you have finished with the billhook check it is in good order, replace the cover and return it to the designated tool box/area.

Tool name: Bow saw

To use safely:

The bow saw can be used for cutting wood with a diameter of larger than a 2 pence coin.
Check the bow saw is in safe working order before using.
Check the area for hazards at all levels including dead wood at canopy level and trip hazards at field level.
Use the bow saw at a distance of two arms and a tool’s length from other people.

A glove is to be worn on non tool hand.
Sit in a kneeling position with on knee on the ground.
When working in pairs remember to make eye contact and ensure both parties are ready before using the tool.
Pass the tool by the handle with the blade facing downwards.
When you have finished with the billhook check it is in good order, replace the blade cover and return it to the designated tool box/area.

Tool name: Loppers

To use safely:

The loppers can be used for cutting branches with a diameter of less than a 2 pence coin.
Check the loppers are safe working order before using.
Check the area for hazards at all levels including dead wood at canopy level and trip hazards at field level.
Use the loppers at a distance of two arms and a tool’s length from other people.
Ensure item to be cut is on a level surface.
Pass the tool by the handles (holding lower handle) with the blade facing downwards.
When you have finished with the loppers check they are good order and return them to the designated tool box/area.

Tool name: Peeler

To use safely:

The peeler can be used for stripping bark from green wood.
Check the peeler is in safe working order before using.
Check the area for hazards at all levels including dead wood at canopy level and trip hazards at field level.
Use the peeler at a distance of two arms and a tool’s length from other people.
Always work away from yourself.
A glove to be worn on non-tool hand.
Pass the tool by the handle.
When you have finished with the peeler check it is in good order and return to the designated tool box/area.

Tool name: Fixed blade knife

To use safely:

The fixed blade knife can be used for whittling wood.
Check the fixed blade knife is in safe working order before using.
Check the area for hazards at all levels including dead wood at canopy level and trip hazards at field level.
Use the knife at a distance of two arms and a tool’s length from other people.
Always work away from yourself.
A glove is to be worn on non-tool hand.
Pass the tool by the handle with the blade facing upwards.
When not using the knife, place by your side with the hand forwards.
When you have finished with the knife check it is in good order, replace the blade cover and return to the designated tool box/area.

Tool name: Secateurs

To use safely:

The secateurs can be used for cutting small branches.
Check the secateurs in safe working order before using.
Check the area for hazards at all levels including dead wood at canopy level and trip hazards at field level.
Use the secateurs at a distance of two arms and a tool’s length from other people.
A glove is to be worn on non-tool hand.
Pass the tool by the handle.
When not using the secateurs, place by your side with the hand forwards.
When you have finished with the secateurs check they are good order, replace the safety catch and return to the designated tool box/area.

PROCEDURES FOR LOOKING AFTER TOOLS

How to check, clean, maintain and store tools safely:
Check blades and handles are securely fastened, if any defects are found, discard and replace.
Ensure cutting edges are sharp and free from debris (blunt cutting edges can slip causing injury.
Blade covers and guards should be replaced when tools are not in use.
Blades should be cleaned with an oily rag (cleaning from the back of the blade down).
Wooden handles can be treated with linseed oil to prevent splitting.
All tools should be stored in a lockable tool box or tool area.
Tools should be counted out at the beginning of each session and counted back in at the end of each session to ensure that all are returned to the tool box/area.


Fagley Forest School Campfire Safety Procedure

Campfires and the use of storm kettles are an integral part of Forest School. Fagley Primary aims to ensure that children and adults participating in Forest School sessions involving fires and/or storm kettles do so with safely.
Location of fires:
·         Only previously agreed areas will be used for campfires (which should be free from tree roots and overhanging branches and on an appropriate soil or raised base).
·         Campfire areas will be enclosed by logs or large stones to prevent the spread of fire.
·         Any leaf litter or other combustible materials and potential trip hazards should be cleared from the fire circle.
Sitting around the fire:
·         Fire area are surrounded by seating positioned at least 1.5 metres away from the fire pit.
·         When the fire pit is in use, children may only enter the fire circle with the permission of the Forest School Leader.
·         When granted access to the fire circle, children must walk around the outside of the seating and only step over when permitted to by the Forest School Leader.
·         Once granted permission to enter the fire circle, children must step over the seating and sit down with legs drawn inwards.
·         Once seated in the fire circle, children must remain seated until directed to move by the Forest School Leader.
·         Children will be taught to change seats by standing, stepping over the seating and walking around the outside of the fire circle.
·         Children must not walk across the inside of the fire circle.
·         Long sleeves and trousers must be worn (no loose fitting clothes, scarves or flammable materials such as fleece).
·         Children are not permitted to throw anything onto the fire.
·         Children will be advised how to deal will smoke (turn head to the side and cover face with hand, close eyes for a count of 30 seconds).
·         Where there is a clear wind direction, children will be advised not to sit in the line of the smoke.
Lighting the fire:
·         The Forest School Leader is responsible for the lighting of fires. Children will only be permitted to light fires if under the direct supervision of the Forest School Leader.
·         No flammable liquids are permitted in the lighting or escalating of fires.
·         Cotton wool, petroleum jelly and fire steels are the preferred method for lighting fires.
·         No plastics are to be burnt.
·         Children must be supervised by the Forest School Leader when placing fuel on the fire.
·         Fuel should be added from the side. Hands must never go over the fire.
Extinguishing the fire:
·         All fires must be fully extinguished with water at the end of the session.
·         Water should always be on hand during campfire sessions (for extinguishing fire and clean water for immersing burns).
·         Whenever possible, fuel on the fire should be burnt down to ash before extinguishing.
·         The ashes should be spread out and doused in water working from the outside of the fire inwards until all smoke/steam has ceased. Particular care should be taken to ensure and larger remaining pieces of wood are fully extinguished.
·         Once fully cooled, build-ups of ash should be removed from the fire pit and dispersed or collected and removed from the site.
Using storm kettles:
·         Children may only light the fire pan if directed by the Forest School Leader.
·         The storm kettle should be placed on clear flat ground.
·         Children must be seated at least 1.5m away from the storm kettle unless being supervised on a 1:1 basis by the Forest School Leader to add fuel to the storm kettle.
·         Fuel should burn itself out, otherwise should be doused following procedure outlined above. The kettle should NEVER be boiled with the cork in place.

The Role of the Forest School Leader

The role of the Forest School leader in promoting emotional intelligence

The Forest School leader will promote emotional intelligence by structuring sessions in a manner which will allow children to interact socially and work together as a team. They will learn how to build positive, empathetic relationships with adults and their peers. During circle time and the end of each session, the group are encouraged to evaluate and reflect on their experiences. They are provided with evaluation tools to help them quantify and share their emotions.  Leaders model how children can work with their emotions to influence their actions and improve their emotional intelligence.
”It is more important to pave the way for a child to want to know than to put him on a diet of facts he is not ready to assimilate.” Rachel Carson.
When a child is emotionally ready and self motivated they will be open to new experiences. One of the most important roles a Forest School leader is  to help children identify emotional barriers which may affect their openness to experience new things and provide them with strategies to overcome these barriers.

The Forest School Leader will be flexible to different approaches to learning. They will acknowledge and celebrate achievements, whilst fostering a culture in which it is accepted that things sometimes go wrong (and when they do, the team works together to find solutions).

The role of the Forest School leader in promoting self-esteem

Activities planned by the Forest School Leader will encourage children to have the confidence make decisions, to voice judgments and to feel comfortable taking managed risks. The Forest School Leader will aim to counter low self-esteem behaviours (such as being overly self-critical, indecisive, defensive or hypersensitive) by helping children to identify and celebrate their strengths and work collaboratively towards common goals. The nature of Forest School sessions enables children with the guidance of the Forest School Leader, to set achievable goals which will enable them to feel proud of their accomplishments. The Forest School Leader will also model the praising of peer accomplishments. By addressing the children’s basic and safety needs (via thorough health and safety procedures) and building positive relationships, the Forest School Leader can ensure the children are in a position to address their esteem needs.

The role of the Forest School leader in promoting appropriate behaviour

The Forest School Leader will clearly outline the rules of Forest School and expectations of behaviour at the beginning of each session. The stimulating and engaging nature of Forest School sessions which are informed by the children’s interests and preferred learning styles will help to ensure that behaviour is appropriate to the Forest School environment.
Children will learn to develop coping strategies, manage risks and take responsibility for their actions and learning. It is the responsibility of the Forest School Leader to demonstrate the importance of co-operation and being aware of other people’s sensitivities and to show how to positively manage emotions when faced with difficulties or disagreements.
Children will be involved whenever possible in planning activities and assessing potential hazards. Through this, they will begin to take ownership of their actions and understand the importance of appropriate behaviour in order to ensure the physical and emotional wellbeing of all participants.

The role of the Forest School leader in promoting learning

Forest School is a child-led programme allowing children to progress and learn in a style and at a pace to suit their learning needs. The Forest School leader will observe and take their cue from the children allowing them to develop new skills through hands-on experience. The children will be encouraged to develop their physical, social, emotional and creative skills.  They will be given the time to talk about how they have progressed and share what they have enjoyed and what they were able to achieve. They will be taught that the process of learning in an activity is as, if not more important than the end product. Time is given to allow for consolidation of ideas, understanding to grow. Activities can be repeated and re-visited as often as a child requires in order for them to develop a deeper understanding.
The Forest School leader has a responsibility to gather evidence of learning and development, to enable children to reflect on and evaluate their progression in Forest School. Whilst the manner in which this evidence may be gathered and recorded may be different to in the typical classroom environment, its value in scaffolding the progression of skills to the next level is equally important. Evidence may be recorded in many ways such as the taking of photographs, video, drawings, log books or evaluation questionnaires.
One of the core principles to Forest School, is promoting environmental awareness and sustainability. By passing on knowledge of the environment and the impact our actions have upon it, the Forest School Leader can empower children to make positive changes to their community. The Forest School Leader must have a sound understanding and respect and love for the natural world in order to effectively share this with participants. It is also equally important for the Forest School Leader to show that they are learning alongside the children. They should acknowledge their own strengths and weaknesses and in turn help the children to identify their own strengths.


A Helper’s Guide to Forest School


Forest School is an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees.
Forest School Association
Forest School sessions to a large extent are play-based and child-led with no prescribed objectives set by the adults.
Getting involved with activities helps the children to join in.  We are encouraging the children to choose, but if they don’t want to join in with an activity, that is fine too.
Taking responsibility for choosing their own tasks builds the children’s confidence and self-esteem. Children help to set agreed boundaries and rules and are supported to take reasonable risks in their play.
The woodland is an unfamiliar environment to many children. On their first sessions, they may stand back and observe until they feel comfortable. At this stage they may need extra guidance and support. As they become more confident they will need less support.
Use positive language where you can (try not to say ‘no’, or ‘stop’, or ‘don’t').  Obviously where someone is about to do something where somebody may get hurt, or harm the environment or damage equipment it may be appropriate. 
Children should be encouraged to respect nature and try to leave the site as they found it. Otherwise try to allow children to explore and investigate.  Getting muddy is encouraged!
The idea is that children will learn from mistakes, learn to think for their selves and become independent, resilient learners. When children are playing, allow them to experiment and problem solve.
Take time to listen to what the children are saying. If you need further understanding and confirmation, repeat back key parts of the child’s speech.
Offer children praise for their efforts. It may seem small to you but huge to that individual child.
When children are working on an activity together, encourage co-operation and negotiation.  Encourage talking about feelings and get them to empathise with others. Be prepared for children to express their feelings aloud. Be sensitive and consistent to their needs by acknowledging their feelings whilst encouraging discussion on how to express them in a more appropriate and safe way.
The children should always behave in a respectful manner. 
If this is not the case inform the Forest School leader.
Adults that are not DBS checked should stay within sight of other adults.
Forest School gives time for children to talk to you and open up.  Follow the school safeguarding policies and procedures if any disclosures are made, no matter how trivial.  If you need advice you are encouraged to talk to the Forest School leader.
Dressing for Forest School.
Forest School activities take place all year round in all weathers, so it is important to be prepared for the weather. It is better to wear several thin layers rather than one thick one as thin layers are easier to add and remove to suit the conditions.
Base layer – thermal top and leggings or long johns (or tights or pyjamas), thermal socks or two pairs of normal socks.
Inner layer – sweater, trousers or jogging bottoms (preferably not jeans as if they get wet they are heavy and cold).

Outer layer – waterproof jacket and waterproof over trousers, gloves, hat (woollen in winter, sun hat in summer) and walking boots or wellingtons. Even on dry days, the woodland floor can be cool and damp.