FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - Forest School Playgroup
What happens in a typical Forest School Session?
A typical playgroup session starts in the log circle where the children can toast a small snack over the fire. Once everyone has arrived we'll sing our welcome song and introduce the adult led activity on offer such as tool work. The children are then able to explore the site freely with their grown up. After lots of freeplay and exploring we'll gather together for some parachute games or songs, finishing up with a story in the log circle. There will always be a wide range of child led freeplay options available such as den building, mud kitchen, climbing, balancing on slack lines, bug hunting, digging, swinging in hammocks or cosying up for a story.
Hot drinks are available for adults and children - please bring your own cups.
My child isn't 18 months old yet, can we book on or do we have to wait?
You are able to book on to the term your child turns 18 months in. The age range is set at 18 months upwards because generally children are becoming more stable on their feet, are more able to independently manage and assess risk, listen to and follow instructions, and move around the site safely. Being in the forest there are naturally more hazards than an indoor playgroup which is why I have set a lower age limit to ensure everyone's safety. Younger siblings are able to attend - however the activities are aimed at children aged 18 months - 5 years old.
Is the site accessible for buggies?
The site is set within woodland, as such it is fairly rustic and the ground is uneven. The site was chosen due to ease of access from the gravel car park. It’s a short walk from the car park through the meadow to the site entrance. Once at the site there are the usual forest floor hazards such as tree roots, stumps and brambles. Buggies with larger wheels should be fine, but those with small wheels may struggle a little if the ground is wet or muddy.
Please ensure that everyone (adults and children) attending a session are dressed appropriately for outdoor weather conditions. You may be refused entry to site if not appropriately dressed. Please only wear/bring items that you do not mind getting muddy and/or wet!
Team Explore recommend the following kit list for winter:
*Waterproof jacket and trousers / or an all-in-one waterproof suit.
*Base layers- thermal top and bottoms
*One pair of comfortable trousers (eg. jogging bottoms)
*One long sleeved t-shirt or top
*One thick jumper or a fleecy zip up jacket (plus a spare in the backpack)
*Two pairs of socks. On the bottom, one thin cotton sock, and the top, a thick wool or fluffy bed sock
*Wellies / snow boots or sturdy closed toe boots
*Cup for hot drink -for you and your little one
*Water bottle and optional snacks
*Any medication needed
What is your cancellation and refund policy?
Places are booked on a termly basis. Team Explore is under no obligation to refund or transfer your money in the event that you are unable to attend part of or the entire course. Regretfully, I am unable to offer an alternative for missed sessions. If your child is sick or does not attend, I am unable to offer a refund for the session.
Refunds will only be issued in the unlikely event of cancellation of the session by Team Explore and will not be issued for situations out of my control (i.e. weather conditions, infectious diseases - see COVID-19 info.).
Do the sessions go ahead if it is raining or if it is cold?
Outdoor Adventure Sessions run whatever the weather - the exception would be if a weather warning has been issued for the area, winds over 25mph or an electrical storm, please ensure your contact details provided at registration are correct and you can also follow Team Explore on Facebook so I can update you in the unlikely event of extreme or dangerous weather conditions.
What if my child is unwell, can I get a refund for that session?
Please do not bring your child to an Outdoor Adventure Session if you or he/she has been sick or has had diarrhoea within the previous 48 hours. Unfortunately, I am unable to refund you for any sessions missed due to illness.
Are there toilets at the site?
There are no permanent structures at our site, this includes toilets facilities for adults. We offer a small tent for changing nappies in and a potette for toilet trained children. There is also the option for children to do a ‘wild wee’ or standing up if they prefer. Please take any soiled nappies or toilet bags home with you as I am unable to dispose of them. Hand washing facilities are provided, along with antibacterial hand foam.
How do you manage behaviour and safety at Team Explore?
Full site and activity risk assessments have been carried out prior to each session. In addition a safety sweep is carried out before the start of the session. Parents / carers are fully responsible for the safety of their own children during the session. Please ensure that they access the site and activities on offer, including tools, safely and carefully under your direct supervision. I reserve the right to cancel a booking if a person behaves in an unacceptable manner towards myself, other families or passers-by.
Are there animals nearby?
Dog walkers use the woodland surrounding the site. In the unlikely event a dog enters the site, children and adults are advised to keep as still and quiet as possible and use ‘x marks the spot’ – this is crossing your arms over your chest with your hands on opposite shoulders until the dog has moved on or the owner is leading it away. Unfortunately, we have to ask that you do not bring your own dog to the sessions.
The area of woodland used for our Forest School Sessions is enclosed within a 3 tier wire fence with 2 gates for entering and exiting. The meadow in which the site is located is also surrounded by secure fencing, there is a gate for entry and exit at the top of the meadow nearest the car park. Please always fully close all gates when entering and leaving the site.
6 friendly cows have moved into the bottom field near the site in Watkins Wood, this is to graze the land for The Woodland Trust. The cows are wearing a sensor collar which is programmed to keep them in a separate area at the bottom of the valley away from our entrance points at the top of the field. In addition, for those that haven't been before the Forest School area is enclosed by a fence with 2 gates, so no chance of any stray cows wandering in!
If, however, you come across a cow that has managed to wander too far, please follow these simple guidelines:
- Remain calm, do not let your children approach the cows or make loud sudden noises or movements.
- Move in a careful, calm way, if you sense a threat, keep moving with your body facing the cow; don’t turn your back to the animal or run.
- Do not try to walk through the middle of a herd of cows, walk around the side.
- If you feel confident enough, you can turn and clap your hands and say something like ‘hey, hey, hey’ to shoo the cows away. Bear in mind the cows will move away quite skittishly, but they will most likely come back, so do not run towards the exit of the field, walk briskly but calmly.
Please alert either myself or Cows in Clover (owners of the cattle) on 07505675504 if you have any further cause for concern.