Forest School Code of Conduct
The Head teacher and Governing body are responsible for promoting good behaviour and a booklet is given to new parents outlining the school’s expectations. A parent/school partnership is entered into with a signed agreement to work together in support of school ideals.This means that, as a general rule, everyone will act with courtesy and consideration to others at all times, therefore, the children:
Always try your best, aim for excellence, take pride in your achievements
Respect other people – keep words and actions positive so everyone enjoys school
Listen well, follow instructions from staff
Respect property – look after our school and everything in it
Keep yourself and others safe
Our Forest School Code of Conduct builds upon these values and extends them through developing understanding and care for the environment and each other.
Children are always made aware of how far they can explore before a session begins. If children explore hidden areas, an adult should also go into the cover, deep enough to be able to see the children. If you do lose sight of them, shout: ‘1, 2, 3, where are you?’ The child should reply: ‘1, 2, 3 I’m here’. This has been introduced to them through a game and practised many times.
Picking up and using sticks
Children can carry sticks shorter than their arm’s length but make sure they think about how close they are to other children. Longer sticks can be dragged or carried with a child at both ends.
Sticks must not be thrown and should only be used from the ground area. Adults can coppice sticks for specific activities.
Adult: child ratio must be 1:1. Check ground cover for sharp objects and check ‘climbing trees’ for loose and rotten branches. Children are allowed to explore to their own limits but adults should be near enough to catch if one should fall but far enough away to not be invasive.
Carrying & transporting materials
The children should be encouraged to roll, lift, drag and pull materials, either by hand or using ropes. The safe way to lift, by bending your knees and keeping a straight back, should be modelled by all adults. Heavier objects can be rolled, dragged or carried by more people.
Eating and drinking
Prevent children eating anything found in woods, such as berries or seeds. Keep reminding them about fingers and hands in mouths and noses. If we take drinks or snacks outside ensure children use water and soap to clean their hands before eating their snack or drinking.
Mushrooms, Fungi, Berries
Mushrooms, fungi and berries can form a large part of learning about the natural environment, food and growth. At East Hoathly the rule is that children do not eat or touch Mushrooms, Fungi or berries. However adults can pick a selection and use these for looking at with mirrors and under microscopes.
Around the log circle
Our log circle will be in the school grounds.
Our circle will have a small shape of logs with the ‘fire’ within, then a circle of seating logs 1.5 metres from the ‘fire’. There must be no running within 5 metres of the fire area and anything being carried must be placed on the round behind the seating. We then step over the logs to sit down. We will use the table cloth analogy for safety around the fire and will always have an entry and exit area.
Leaving the site
The site in the woodland must always be left as it was found. If artefacts are made using ‘found’ materials these may be taken off site.
Wood should be collected in three thicknesses – matchstick size, pencil size and thumb thickness. This is a great sorting activity and children should be given a chance to do it even if a fire is not to be lit!
Lighting a fire
When lighting a fire the Forest School leader will take control of the operation. All accompanying adults will be briefed before we start. Children will be taught how to safely light the fire and will do this on a 1-1 basis.
Tools are all counted in and out and are kept in suitable containers in one designated spot. Each tool has its own safety procedures which children and staff will be aware of.
Children must never be allowed to help themselves. Tools are given out for a purpose and all adults should model their correct use, storage and transportation at all times. Tools are used well away from other active children and only walking is permitted when carrying them.