NEWport Site

We are thrilled to be able to announce that our NEW Forest School site located in Newport, South Wales is now OPEN! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have a child in the area who may benefit from sessions with us, or simply if you’d like to know more.

Here’s the basics:

⊛ Parking: There is lots of road parking available near the main gate to the park – search for “2 Woodland Park Rd, Newport NP19 8LY“. Limited street parking is also available near the lower gate – search for “33 Kensington Place, Newport NP19 8GP“.

⊛ Meeting place: We’ll meet in the middle of the park by the benches at the stone circle. If you use the app what3words then you can search for range.ducks.lions – although it’s also easy to find without that! Here we’ll do a welcome circle and introduce ourselves, and talk about our plans for the day. We love to hear any plans the kids have brought!

⊛ What to wear/bring: Even on dry days, children still manage to get muddy! We would advise long trousers in all weathers to protect from brambles, nettles, ticks and general scrapes. Waterproof trousers are essential on wet days and also useful on dry days to keep the mud off when playing or sitting on the ground. Wellies, walking boots or sturdy trainers are all good footwear. Shorts, dresses or sandals are never appropriate for Forest School. (All of the above applies to adults too!) Please bring a drink and snack – about halfway through we will usually offer a story which is when many children choose to have their snack, but they are also welcome to eat anytime they like. Handwashing facilities will be provided and we’d ask you to help us make sure hands are washed before eating.

⊛ Here’s some background on the way we work. Please do ask any questions this may raise for you. Forest School is child led. Sometimes children need time and space to settle into learning. We provide resources and a safe environment for the children. They choose the activities they participate in. They do not HAVE to do anything other than follow the safety rules. We are there to enable them to learn what they want to learn at a pace to suit them.

1. We don’t interrupt children when they are learning/ focused on an activity.

2. We use alternatives to ‘be careful’ (see below). This promotes independence, problem solving skills, empathy while teaching and encouraging children to take their own calculated risks.

3. Some children may need to be encouraged to engage with other children instead of spending all their time with adults.

4. We observe the children. It is a vital part of what we do. We can’t meet needs we aren’t aware of. We notice their choices and how they learn alongside other children, how easily they can negotiate their turn or climb up a steep slope, how well they recover from a failure or how kind they are to others.

5. If we don’t like something like spiders/ heights/ nettles we do our upmost not to show this to the children. They absorb ideas about the environment from us, whether we intend it or not. Nickie really hates slugs for example. We all have ‘our things’ but we try not to pass them on inadvertently.

6. If it feels like all of the children are engaged and are not needing us we role model. We enjoy the environment/ make something/ go on a bug hunt/ climb a tree. Children need to know that we are all part of the group. We are observing them while we do this and ensuring they are safe. Don’t underestimate the power of a good role model.

7. Some children find group time tricky. We accept that. Some are overwhelmed, others are shy, some need to avoid what feels like a demand in order to feel safe. That’s ok. So, if a child is not sitting or chooses not to join us for food that is ok. We gently let them know we would enjoy their company but do not ever force the issue.

8. We encourage children to take responsibility for their own belongings: bags, coats, drink bottles, litter etc. This builds a sense of responsibility, independence and resilience.

9. We ask children before taking photos of them and accept if they say no. This encourages a sense of autonomy and shows them we respect their wishes. If you wish to take photos of your child they can not include any of the other people in the group.

⊛ *** Alternatives to ‘be careful’: • Let’s use our balance on this steep part • Stay focused on what you’re doing • I wonder if you know what your next move is • It looks like you might not feel safe there • I’m here if you need me • Sticks need space – look around you to check if you have enough space for that big stick! • I wonder where would be a safe place to throw that rock • Please move slowly near the ____ • We should check in with each other and make sure everyone is still having a good time! • I’ve noticed this is a really busy area and someone not playing this game might get knocked over • Ask her if she’s okay with this game • Let’s check this den to make sure it’s safe to hide in • I can see brambles/nettles near your feet etc ***