Well thought through without being rigid
Each session is planned in advance with a session plan. This acts as a broad guide for the session, however plans can change dependent on the skill levels and interests of the children or young people involved.
A session routine is established early on and will often start with a welcome introduction round a log circle and an assessment of the woodland hazards. The plan for the session is introduced, which may involve a creative activity that helps to stimulate play in the outdoors. For example; building a shelter for elves, making stick friends or tree stories - whatever is appropriate to that particular group.
Within the routines of the session, the participants are encouraged to explore and create what interests and inspires them. Where appropriate, the Forest School Leader will build on their learning by teaching new skills; knot tying, shelter building, fire lighting or tool use for example. As there is a high adult ratio in sessions it makes it possible to be flexible, whilst maintaining routines that help everyone to feel settled and safe.
Over a number of weeks, skills, confidence and a sense of community is developed.
Small ideas may turn into bigger projects; a rope walk into an assault course, or
an elf house into an elf village for example.
Learning to explore safely
All activities and sites are risk assessed prior to establishing a programme. An additional
risk assessment is carried out on the day and dynamic risk assessments take place
continuously throughout the session. The Forest School Leader has a high level of
training to assess for risk and there is a high adult to child ratio to support this.
Children are taught clear and strict routines, including physical boundaries of a
site, woodland hazards and step by step processes for tool use and fire lighting.