Little Acorns Forest School

 

Little Acorns Forest School - https://youtu.be/gh2WX5N7bB8

Little Acorns take  small groups of children to Belfair’s Woods to take part in Forest School experiences and activities on a Friday morning. The group is led by our Forest School officer Anna Woodcock, who in training towards gaining her level 3 Forest School Practitioner’s Certificate and she is accompanied by two Little Acorns Staff Members and a volunteer parent/helper. 

Forest School is:

'An inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults regular opportunities to achieve, develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a local woodland environment.‘

At Forest School all participants are viewed as:
• equal, unique and valuable
• competent to explore & discover
• entitled to experience appropriate risk and challenge
• entitled to choose, and to initiate and drive their own  learning and development
• entitled to experience regular success
• entitled to develop positive relationships with themselves and other people
• entitled to develop a strong, positive relationship with their natural world 

The aims of the Sessions are:

1.     To help the children understand, appreciate and care for the natural environment.

2.    To develop the children’s confidence, independence and self-esteem.

3.    To foster the children’s independent thinking, speaking and problem solving skills.

4.    To support all areas of Early Years Foundation Stage with special emphasis on Personal, Social and Emotional, Communication and Lanaguage and Physical Developments.

The group spends two hours in the woods and various age-appropriate activities and experiences are planned using the natural resources and materials wherever possible. The Group goes in all weathers and the sessions are only cancelled if there are severe weather warnings i.e. gales.  The children are supervised at all times (adult/child ratio 1:2) but are given the opportunity to explore their surroundings within a certain boundary.

Some of the activities the children have enjoyed are mud painting, clay modelling making rope walkways between the trees, making broomsticks, leaf/tree ID, tree climbing, bug hunting, tool work, mushroom hunting, hide n seek, puddle play and exploring.

The children are chosen in age order and the sessions take place on Friday mornings 9.30-11.30, term time only.

In April 2016 the Living Wage increased from £6.70 to £ 7.20, with a target of it reaching more than £9 an hour by 2020. The Government have now released their new Nursery Funding formula and have announced in Southend in Sept 2017 our funding will rise from £3.85 per hour to £ 4.18. Unfortunately this increase in Nursery funding is not sufficient to cover our Forest School costs. 

The wage costs of running Forest School weekly can be averaged out at about £10.00 per week per child and every child is invited to attend the year prior to moving up to school. Even if they do not attend Pre-school on a Friday.

In order to achieve a balanced budget we have now needed to review Little Acorns’ long term outgoings and make appropriate cuts to planned expenditure. Little Acorns would really like to be able to offer Forest School, but in order to achieve this it is necessary to cover the costs of the additional three staff member’s wages incurred.

So we have decided to carry on giving out a voluntary donation envelope, with our Forest School Satisfaction Survey, at the end of each half terms block of sessions. This money will be put toward the costs of running the sessions your child has attended. In this way during 2017-2018 we management to raise £1,380.00 of the £3,500.00 it costs us to run Forest School.

Unfortunately we will only be able to carry on running Forest School in the future if parent’s donations cover these costings.

Little Acorns is a member of the Forest School Association

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