N’s been used to going to forest school at his old nursery. They have a beautiful forest school area on site, complete with tree house classroom, small pond and play equipment. It was a place to go and learn about safety, being free to explore and play, a shelter from the sun in summer when the nursery building got too overheated and just to enjoy being outside.
At school they also have the use of a forest school facility, on a nearby estate. The older children do an afternoon and walk there and back. With reception year, parents drop them off and they then walk back to school across the fields afterwards.
Apart from being glad they weren’t having to walk both ways (N can moan a lot!) and then be tired for the rest of school), and that they didn’t go yesterday on an absolutely bitter day, I thought N would be looking forward to going. It hadn’t occurred to me to worry about it. I know N’s used to being outside for hours, even being out all day in the rain on the farm out of choice. And he’s safe and aware of what dangers there are outside thanks to both forest school at nursery and generally on the farm and being out and about.
But I’d not anticipated the OH asking questions about it.
Yes, it’s a bit of a walk back to school.
Yes, they might get a bit cold (but that’s what layers are for).
Yes, they might get wet – they have school uniform to change back into and waterproofs.
But he was questioning whether it was safe to walk them all back to school over fields?! Surely, the teachers do it all the time. They’ll have enough adults to keep an eye on them. They’ll have done a risk assessment. I’m sure it’s a lot safer than the OH taking N out on the farm all day.
Once we’d placated his dad, I then had to ensure N was happy in his new waterproofs. His old coat is age 4, 2 years old and too small for layers underneath so I’d bought him a new waterproof jacket from Mountain Warehouse. It does the job perfectly well, but so far all N’s done is moan. ‘It covers my hands, it’s not comfy at my chin….’ I sorted those problems out, located his hat and gloves (the latter I’m sure he’ll not wear), got out thick socks (‘not wearing those’) and packed his school uniform to change into. His new waterproof trousers were deemed too long (they’re his current size age 5-6, rather than the age 3-4 ones he was trying to wear before).
Sadly he looked a bit ‘new’, but I’m sure after one outing, they’ll be coated in mud. At least his wellies are worn in. I’m not sure the staff member dropping the reception children from morning club at forest school will have wanted the wellies in her car.
He’d been looking forward to forest school but on the way to school I realised his idea of it might be a bit deluded thanks to his nursery experience.
‘There won’t be toilets, so make sure you go before you leave morning club’
‘Of course there will mummy’. Hmm, luckily the teacher at morning club said she’d make sure he went before they left.
‘Will there be a tree house?’
‘No, it’ll be like a wild field with wood or trees. Nothing else, just that’
‘If there’s no forest it won’t be forest school’.
‘The teachers can’t go mummy, they need to be at school. They won’t know what to do at forest school’.
‘Er, yes they will. They’ll have had training, and they’re your teachers, so will be going with you’.
‘Don’t moan about walking back to school again’
‘How far will it be?’
‘I don’t know. Maybe 30 minutes walk’
‘That’s not long. That’s easy’. Good job I wasn’t drinking, I’d have spat it out at that comment!
‘Over time going to forest school, you might learn to make a fire’
‘I already know how to make a fire. There are 2 ways. With matches like daddy lights our fire and rubbing 2 sticks’
‘How do you know that? From forest school at nursery?’. I did wonder if not, maybe he’d found something on YouTube or on Peter Rabbit tv show.
‘No, L told me’…his best friend. Hope the pair of them haven’t tried it before!
In the end I dropped him off for morning club, reminded him that he had his snack and drink in his bag, along with his school uniform. And to make sure his forest school outdoor clothing was all put back in his bag again, dirty or clean. I didn’t name anything other than the waterproofs, because I hoped he’d remember which clothes are his, and I’ve run out of name labels. I don’t really want to label every single item in his wardrobe. Thankfully all his own clothes did come back with him (although somewhat sopping wet, and he was wearing his PE t-shirt rather than his polo shirt).
He said he really enjoyed it, that the walk did take a long time but they went past his dad’s cows. They built a big den. And he didn’t get a snack because there weren’t enough pears. Their own snacks were locked up in a car with all the change of clothes. I’m not sure how accurate that was, but he’s going to have to learn to be a bit more
Do your children do forest school? What kind of things do they get up to?