Here at Wild Monkeys Childcare, we offer a wide range of different ways for children to learn. One of those ways is our Forest School provision! Our Forest School Lead, Rachelle, organises fantastic Forest School sessions on a regular basis, as well as our wonderful garden which the children have access to. This page should answer any questions you might have about Forest School!
So, what is Forest School? Great question! You may have heard of Forest School before online or in the news. Forest School is essentially a way to deliver nature-based, child-led learning outside, come rain or shine, letting children get hands-on with nature and the natural environment. It’s a long-term program, rather than just a few one-off sessions. It’s been common in Scandinavian countries since the 1950s, and is becoming more and more popular here in the UK.
At Wild Monkeys, our main Forest School sessions happen several times per week, spread out to make sure that as many children as possible can take part in sessions. We also encourage outdoor learning and play the rest of the week too, no matter the weather – which is why we ask parents to always send their children in with suitable clothing for the weather!
What does my child gain from Forest School? Forest School encourages children to work together, helping them to develop their social skills and their communication & language skills. It also helps their fine and gross motor skills, especially with activities such as building with sticks and leaves!
Research has shown that just being outside improves mental and physical health, communication, and social relationships – and more. Today, only 21% of children in the UK regularly play outside! Forest School encourages children to enjoy being outdoors, and lets them teach themselves how to create their own play and learning opportunities, important skills for childhood and adulthood.
How does Wild Monkeys Childcare offer their Forest School provision? We have regular Forest School sessions several times per week, led by our qualified Forest School Lead Rachelle or by other staff trained by Rachelle. Some of these sessions are at the setting, making use of our 140ft garden, and some of these sessions are outside the setting, using local nature areas such as the Oval, Cinque Foil Park, Firle Road Park, and other local green spaces.
These sessions include activities such as bug hunts, collecting and decorating sticks and making up stories about them, mark-making with natural items, and more! All of the activities support the EYFS.
All of our children have access to the garden every day, no matter the weather, and we encourage all of our children to spend time outside every day.
Frequently Asked Questions
What about rain or snow, or cold weather?
At Wild Monkeys, we are firm believers in the saying that "there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing"! We make sure that all children are suitably prepared for going outside, whether that means suncream and a hat, or a warm coat and gloves. We ask that parents send their children in with suitable clothes, so that they can fully take part in our activities.
Generally, children are perfectly happy to play in the rain or cold - and of course they love the snow! Different types of weather also provide really valuable learning experiences for your child. In many countries, children play outdoors all year round with no problems, and in some European countries babies even sleep in their prams out in the snow!
What if my child is ill and I want them kept in?
We have an Outdoor Play Policy, available on our website, which fully explains our approach to this. We don't keep children inside due to illness, as going outside won't make them ill or worsen an existing illness - in fact, evidence suggests that being out in the fresh air actually makes them less likely to get ill! If your child isn't well enough to go outside, they are probably too ill to attend nursery, and we suggest that they stay home until they're well enough to take part in all of our activities.