What happens at Forest School?
Before the session begins:
A safety sweep is undertaken by the Forest School Leader. Checks are made for any litter or fallen wood. The Forest School Leader will be mindful of recent weather conditions — for example recent high winds could have shifted or caused branches to fall.
A written record is kept and any eye level protruding sticks/branches are dealt with (either removed or attention drawn by the leader in the session).
Weather conditions are assessed and a decision is made about whether the session can proceed (thunder & lightning or high winds would halt a session).
During the session:
Children change into weather appropriate gear, including footwear such as wellies. A headcount is undertaken followed by a rules re-cap and any safety sweep issues are highlighted to the group.
As a group we walk first to the meeting point, then to the fire circle which acts as a base camp for our Forest School.
A starter activity takes place, alongside a request for children to made note of any changes in the setting since the last session — this might be new flowers or blossom, a change to the colour of leaves, perhaps evidence of animals on site.
There is then a move to the main block of the session which will include free play and exploration alongside some offered planned activities which children can choose to engage with.
We end the session with a discussion and feedback to round up what we have learned or discovered. This is normally an opportunity to get a fire going for hot chocolate or for a snack.
At the end of the session:
All equipment is collected and cleared away — children are invited to help with this. Many hands make light work! It is also an opportunity to revisit taking care of our Forest School site.
Tools are counted back by the Forest School Leader and locked away. A headcount is completed and the group moves to the exit, leaving the Forest School site. Children return to the main school building to get changed back into their uniform.