Founded in 2013, Willow's is a privately run Forest School, offering a safe and fun outdoor experience for children aged 18 months - 4 years, in all weathers during term time..
Classes run during the term time for Parent and Toddlers and for 2-4 year old children, with siblings under 18 months able to attend for free. Taster sessions are available to book too.
Additionally, Willow's run educational, fun packed Holiday Camps during some of the holidays for children aged 4-11 years, come rain or shine. Our camps are very popular and we strongly recommend to book early, with dates released approximately 3 months in advance. Willow's Forest Camps is Ofsted registered and accepts childcare vouchers.
There is something for every child to enjoy whether it be building dens, going on scavenger hunts, identifying bugs, making dream catchers, using hand tools, whittling sticks or singing and story reading whilst toasting marshmallows over a camp fire.
The children learn about nature by making bug hotels and habitats for our wildlife including our resident fox "Willow." Forest School is child led, however we do encourage the children to step outside their comfort zone and have a go at activities available to them. Our aim is for the children to learn through having fun, build their self esteem, learn some life long skills and have wonderful childhood memories.
Forest Schools provides a safe, natural and fun environment for children to develop strong social skills, physical ability, self-esteem, independence and enhance their knowledge of nature and the changing seasons. Forest Schools fosters children's curiosity and motivation to learn and explore. It teaches children to respect each other, themselves, the natural world and their local community. Developed in Denmark in the 1980's, the concept came to the UK in the 1990's.
A typical day at Willow's starts with the staff risk assessing the site ensuring any harmful danger has been removed. The children are signed in by parents and then meet at Willows Den. They put their named water bottle in the den and put a high visibility tabbard on. The site is then risk assessed with all the children, so that they know where their boundaries are, what to do if they see stinging nettles, rabbit holes or high raised roots, for example.
Willows Forest School involve the children in looking out for one another. At the fire circle, rules are recapped. Children collect sticks of certain sizes to help build a fire, but it is never lit until the children fully understand the safety rules. The group will be divided, so that some children will learn to whittle sticks, making dream catchers, bow and arrows, charcoal, pencils, musical instruments, fairies and elves over time. The other group will be off building dens, making homes for wildlife, designing hats from natural resources and free playing in the mud kitchen. Everyone comes together for a well-earned healthy snack, before the groups swap over.
At the end of the session everyone gathers around the fire circle. If it's lit, children can toast some marshmallows before it's safely put out. The Willows Forest School mascot , "Willow the Fox" is shared around the group, so that the children can say what they had enjoyed about Forest School, before a farewell song.
As it's outdoors, children should be dressed appropriately for the conditions, so that they can maximise the opportunities that the Forest Schools offers.
There is something for every child to enjoy whether it be building dens, making fairies and elves from natural resources, whittling sticks to make keepsakes or singing and story reading whilst toasting marshmallows over a camp fire.