FAQ’s

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We have lots of shelters in the forest so that play can continue undercover, the children also enjoy building shelters to hide in! We have a big yurt full of bean bags to relax on, toys, books and art materials and so children can choose to take off their kit and relax in side any time. We are also so lucky that, when the weather gets the better of us, we can use the facilities at the farm. There is soft play, bouncy castles, giant sand pits, giant lego and role play areas to access, animals to visit and our classroom in the stable block.

All the children have a uniform of kit which we supply. We have carefully selected the items as we have proven what works the best. We also have lots of donations of useful items from Forest Schoolers who have outgrown items and we share these with new starters.

Being outside in all weathers can be tiring as can having the time of your life racing independently around the forest and so we encourage children to rest. We have hammocks and bean bags and blankets available in the open air as well as a sofa and bean bags in the yurt for the children to be comfortable and cosy.

We have camping toilets and potties in the forest which are contained in their own privacy tents. We help children to manage their personal care while wearing all of their layers! There are, of course “real” toilets at the farm which we encourage children to use if we are passing.

We subscribe to an app called Tapestry. Your child’s Key Worker will post photographs and observations of what your child has been up to and match them to the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum to see what progress they are making in their learning. Any number of relatives can have access to the app, so it is a good way of keeping Grandparents in the loop too.

We are also active on social media posting in our dedicated FaceBook group and making Instagram Stories most sessions.

Until this year we have always been very flexible as regards children’s attendance, we always feel that some time in the forest is better than none. That said, we notice the huge difference in children when Forest School is their sole Pre-School experience. The feel they are a greater part of the community, their learning has more continuity, their relationships with other children grow and this feeds into their learning experience in an exponential way. We HIGHLY recommend that children spend at least 3 days a week with us to gain the most benefit.

Of course! We can help you to navigate the confusing world of Government Funding in both England and Wales. Children aged 3 and a term are all eligible for at least 10 hours and many can claim up to 30 hours per week. We may also be able to “stretch” them to use in the holidays too.

Of course!! You can pay by tax free childcare and the Forest School banking software will recognize your payment automatically.

Of course! We are already registered with Edenred, Sodexo, Caboodle and Computer Share and can register with any other scheme you may be using.

We are lucky enough to have running water and proper sinks up in the forest and so have been encouraging thorough hand washing as usual. Adults have also been undertaking additional cleaning tasks with regards to resources. We have been very committed that children should not notice a difference in the quality of their care and have maintained a warm welcome, with hugs and all the love they would expect from our staff.

We have a child-centred approach at Park Hall Forest School which means that if children are taking an interest in the print when we are reading to them we will encourage them to read along with us. If they are interested in the way we are recording the register, shopping list or rules on the blackboard we will encourage them to join in with us and make marks and write also. If children are not yet interested in letter learning, numerals or phonics we will instead encourage them to explore the learning that interests them most. We will plan focused activities based on the interests of children we have observed in the hopes that it will appeal to them however we never insist that they complete a certain activity.

Our children are independent and confident in their abilities. They are curious, have a thirst for learning and are motivated to find things out. We find that they are sociable and caring to peers and all of this gives them a great start in school life.

Children can start with us in Pre-School at about 2½, when they are confident walkers as it is a bit of a distance up to our site. They do not need to be potty trained and can have a nap in the yurt or a hammock (although they are often having too much fun to bother!) We tend not to start children this young off in our holiday club periods as we want to ensure that their Key Worker can spend almost 1:1 time with them in their initial sessions. This is also why the cost for younger children is higher, we want them to have lots of attention while they are learning to take care of themselves – keep warm and dry, drink and rest.

Some children stay with us even when they reach “school age” by delaying entry until their 5th birthday, deferring until the following year or by attending both regular school and forest school part-time. We are committed to visiting children in their alternate settings and communicating with them to ensure we are all working towards the same goals in the way which suits the individual best.

Home-Educating families often use our service weekly as a supplement to their own learning and other activities, this is usually for children up to age 8.

Not, at all. Children can come to us at whatever age.

We rarely formally separate children by age. We tend to learn in a “tribal” group – young learning from older siblings and peers and older students taking on responsibilities. The children naturally gravitate to working alongside adults and joining the projects they are leading or choose to be independent. There is lots of space for everyone to learn where they most want to.

We regularly have working days up in the forest where we lay on the snacks and drinks and  parents can help us with maintenance jobs and evolving our outdoor classroom.

We are also always looking for donations of wooly jumpers, wood, tools, books, kitchen sinks …you name it, we will find a use for it!

Always a New Adventure!

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