We launched our first Kids adVentures Forest School in February 2017. At the time we were increasingly looking to use the outdoors for education and were really starting to see the benefits of it.
When we first opened the site we planned for our Prestwich Nursery pre-school to visit the site a few days a week for sessions. However, these sessions were so popular we quickly turned the site into a full time pre-school provision.
This was no small task – we had portacabins on site with water and heating but we only had a composting toilet. To turn the site into a full time provision we had to get connected up to the water mains and build a toilet block. We also turned half of the large cabin into a classroom and added a separate entrance for the nursery.
We held an opening event on a cold drizzly day in February 2017 and were pleasantly surprised with the support we got – lots and lots of families came to visit! We had outdoor crafts, forest school games, chilli in mugs and luxury hot chocolate – it was a busy day for all!
Since then we have expanded to offer forest school holiday club and home education sessions.
Additionally, we have started running forest school sessions at our other nurseries where we utilise any park or green space that we can easily walk to.
We have employed our own forest school trainer and can now offer Level 3 Forest School Leader training to all staff free of charge.
The benefits for children have been massive. Teachers report back that when our forest school children start school they are more ready for school having increased confidence and lateral thinking skills.
In the last 18 months we have also extended these services by providing free Woodland Wellbeing sessions for adults utilising our forest school knowledge. We have found this to have real mental health benefits both in reducing social isolation but also in using nature as a mindfulness tool.
To find out more about our wider forest school offering contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org