- 1: Forest School is seen as an important part of the curriculum at Staunton Montessori School. Forest School complements the Montessori and EYFS curriculum delivered at the school and fits in with the whole school vision of developing an organic curriculum that is centred around the individual child enabling all children to reach their full potential socially, emotionally and academically during their time with us.
- 2: Forest School sessions shall be planned and delivered by a member of staff trained to OCN level 3 in Forest School. They will be supported by other members of staff from the school. The Forest School Leader will have an appropriate paediatric first aid certificate and will be responsible for all emergencies during the sessions.
- 3: All children will be given the opportunity to access Forest School sessions in each academic year. Because of the part time nature of children attending the school the sessions will take place in blocks of six weeks and will change mornings each term. It will be the older children in the Red Apple group who will participate in these full sessions, the younger children (Green Apple group) will periodically visit the Forest School site and take part in activities that will help them get to know the site.
- 4: The sessions will be planned so all children will be able to participate irrespective of gender, race or special needs. Additional support will be given to children who need it to be able to access the sessions.
- 5: Regular observations will be taken of all children during the Forest School sessions by the child’s key worker and other adults working with the children. These will be discussed after the sessions and used to plan the next steps for the children in line with the school’s policy on assessment, recording and reporting.
- 6: The Forest School sessions will take place in the fenced woodland area that is approached from the paddock. This area is private land that we have been kindly given permission to use and develop by the owners of the Staunton Estate.
- 7: The Health and Safety Policy for Forest School will be followed for all sessions and risk assessments will be in place for all activities.
Health and Safety Policy: Forest School
- 1: All Forest School sessions should be planned and delivered by a member of staff who has attended a Forest School OCN recognised training course. The Forest School Leader is responsible for the Health and Safety of the staff and children when in the Forest School.
- 2: The Forest School Leader is responsible for surveying the Forest School site for hazards before each session and completing the appropriate risk assessments for all the activities that are going to be undertaken.
- 3: The Forest School Leader is to take control of any emergencies and all staff will follow the Emergency Action Plan for the Forest School Site which has been introduced to all staff when inducting them in Forest School sessions.
- 4: A mobile phone should be kept with the Forest School Leader at all times with emergency contact numbers for the School, Head Teachers and Secretary.
- 1: The Forest School Leader is responsible for checking that all gates are securely bolted on the outside at all times during Forest School Sessions. Gates need to be checked after anyone has entered or left the site.
- 2: A completed register must be taken to all Forest School sessions. Regular Head Counts should take place. The School’s Policy for lost children should be followed if a child is missing.
- 3: All staff are responsible for watching for members of the public entering the Forest School site. Anyone who is behaving suspiciously should be immediately reported to the Head Teacher. Children should be gathered together in the log circle if anyone wants to bring a dog through the Forest School site on the public footpath.
General Health and Welfare:
- 1: All staff to be aware of the general welfare of children, young children get cold very quickly so additional clothes should be available along with the emergency blanket and survival bag. Hot drinks and high calorific snacks should be available on cold days. Forest School sessions should be quickly aborted if children are starting to get cold.
- 2: The sheet with allergies and medical conditions should be bought to each Forest School session. Inhalers should be kept in an easily accessible box on the trailer. A sheet with emergency contact details for all parents should be bought to each session.
- 3: On hot days children should wear hats and sun cream in line with the school’s current policy on sun cream. All parents have signed a consent form for wearing sun cream when they started the Nursery, so staff should re-apply when necessary.
- 4: The Forest School Leader should have a current certificate in paediatric first aid and is to take responsibility in case of any accidents and emergencies. Accidents should be reported to parents on the accident forms that are used in main Nursery sessions.
- 1: The Forest School Leader to keep a close eye on the weather conditions and cancel or shorten sessions if necessary.
- 2: Sessions should be cancelled in high winds and extremely cold temperatures. After ice and snow the site should be carefully checked for hazards. The site should also be checked for fallen branches after high winds and storms.
- 1: All children to wear sensible footwear, ideally wellies, snow boots or trainers. No sandals, crocs or other open shoes to be worn during sessions. Socks to be worn to protect legs.
- 2: Children to wear long trousers to protect their legs from scratches and stings.
- 3: During cold and damp weather children to wear waterproof tops and trousers. Staff to assess whether they think the children are wearing sufficient layers of warm clothing and provide spares when necessary.
- 4: Children to wear sun hats or caps during hot weather.
- 5: If a child is not wearing the appropriate clothing and spares cannot be found the child can be left with the other group in the school. In cases like this the parents should be informed at the end of the session so that they are able to provide the appropriate clothing for the next session.
- 1: Children use a composting toilet in a shed fitted with a toilet seat. Saw dust is used at the end of each visit. Alcohol gel is used to clean hands.
- 2: Portable toilet with brown bag to be used for solid waste. Toilet roll to be tied in bag and brown bags returned to school in a black bag to be disposed of in landfill bin.
- 3: All hands to be cleaned with antibacterial gel after toileting.
- 4: Nappies to be changed on changing mat inside cabin. Follow main school nappy guidelines for changing nappies. Dirty nappies to be placed in a nappy bag and returned to school.
- 5: Staff to wear disposable gloves when helping children with toileting arrangements and dispose of gloves in black bag to be disposed of at school.
Food and Drink:
- 1: Children to bring own lunches in sealed lunch boxes. Parents advised to put ice blocks in during warm weather. Lunch boxes to be stored on a tarpaulin in a shady area, to be covered with the remaining tarpaulin. In line with the school policy there should be no nuts in the lunch boxes.
- 2: Forest School Leader to organise snack during morning. Sharp knives for cutting fruit to be kept with blade cover on in secure box in trailer. Hot Chocolate kept in vacuum flasks, staff responsible for checking temperature before children drink it.
- 3: Drinking water to be available at all times. To be kept in clean bottles that are emptied after each session. Used cups to be placed in bag and returned to school for cleaning after use.
- 4: Staff to ensure that children clean their hands thoroughly with wipes and antibacterial wipes before eating or drinking anything.
- 5: Forest School Leader responsible for preparing any hot snacks on the fire. Children not to touch hot pans and kettles (see Fire Policy). Forest School Leader responsible for hygienic preparation of food in line with current Health and Safety regulations. Forest School Leader responsible for ensuring food is thoroughly cooked and at an appropriate temperature when given to the children.
- 1: All food waste to be returned to school in a tied black bag to be disposed of in black bin. No food to be left in Forest School site to discourage rodents.
- 2: All toilet waste i.e. paper and wipes also to be returned to school for disposal in black bin.
Tool Policy at Forest School:
- 1: The Health and Safety Policy shall be followed and risk assessments put in place before tools are used at the Forest School.
- 2: Tools are to be stored in a secure shed at the main school. They are to be transported to each session in the tool box on the trailer. An inventory of the tools in the box is to be checked at the beginning and end of each session to ensure that no dangerous tools are left at the Forest School.
- 3: The Forest School Leader is responsible for cleaning and maintaining the tools after each use. Any defective tools are to be removed immediately and replaced before they are used again.
- 4: All tools should be kept in the tool box whilst not in use in the Forest School. The Nursery children are not to have access to the box, tools are to be removed and put back in the box by a responsible adult who ensures the fastenings are always kept closed.
- 5: Tools should only be introduced to the children by the trained Forest School Leader. This should always be done by using the recommended tool talks and demonstration by the Leader; they should only be used when the Forest School Leader feels that the children understand how to use them safely.
- 6: The tools should always be used in the designated tool area in the Forest School. The Forest School Leader should make sure that this area is always kept clear of dangers and trip hazards and that the group understand the need to walk sensibly around this area.
- 7: Potato peelers should be one of the first tools used by the Nursery children. These can be used in groups of 4 with the Forest School Leader, to remove bark from sticks.
- 8: The bow saw should first be introduced to the Nursery children with a trained adult on one end with the child having the end with the handle; most children will always use the saw like this. If some children get confident with using the saw like this and the Forest School Leader feels that they are able to progress, two children can use the saw, with the Forest School Leader closely supervising them. Only one saw shall be out at a given time.
- 9: The loppers shall be used with one Nursery child and the Forest School Leader helping them position them and squeeze them together.
- 10: One Nursery child shall use the pen knife at a time. The children will only use the pen knife when sitting down on a log stump and only in a 1:1 situation with the Forest School Leader guiding them.
- 11: The Bill Hook is only to be used by the Forest School Leader because of the age of the children.
- 12: This policy will be reviewed regularly and adapted if older groups of children start to use the Forest School site.
- 1: The Health and Safety Policy shall be followed and risk assessments put in place before fires are lit at the Forest School.
- 2: Fires shall only be lit by the Forest School Leader and only within the fire pit area.
- 3: The fire pit area shall be developed using the recommendations of Archimedes training. The benches must be at least 2m away from the fire pit area and the area will be fenced to prevent children from wandering into the area.
- 4: The children will walk behind the benches for safety in an anti-clockwise direction. A fire will only be lit with a group if the Forest School Leader feels all the group understand and will be able to follow all the safety rules and guidelines. As the children are very young, only one child will be allowed to be in the fire pit area at a time with the Forest School Leader.
- 5: Before using the fire pit area the Forest School Leader will check the area for hazards. It is to be kept clear from trip hazards at all times.
- 6: The fire will always be lit by a flint. It will be kept small and manageable. The Forest School Leader will be responsible for the fire at all times that it is lit and will never leave a lit fire while children are in the area.
- 7: There will always be plentiful supplies of water for emergencies in the fire pit area and the first aid kit will include the appropriate equipment for dealing with scalds and burns.
- 8: All people feeding the fire will be shown and expected to use the respect position at all times. This is the safest position to be in to prevent tumbles into the fire.
- 9: Pans and kettles will only be removed from the fire by the Forest School Leader using a flame proof glove. They will make sure the children are aware of the dangers of touching hot pans and will always ensure that food and drink given to children will be at an appropriate temperature.
- 10: All waste from the fire area will be collected and returned to the school to be disposed of at the end of each session.
- 11: The fire will be spread out and left to die down and then doused with plentiful amounts of water before the group leave the Forest School. The Forest School Leader is responsible for ensuring that the fire is out and the area is left safe before leaving the site.