COVID-19 & FOREST SCHOOL INFORMATION
The Enchanted Woods believe that this pandemic has given us an opportunity to evaluate what is important in our lives and consider the changes we need to make as a human race. Is is essential that we firstly look at the current ecological situation and the effect that humans are having on the environment which has contributed to the spread of COVID-19. Massive areas of our natural environment have been destroyed due to deforestation, pollution and economically driven incentives. This has lead to the strength of viruses such as COVID-19 where animals are unable to exist within their natural habitat and are subject to contradicting and spreading disease. It is fundamental at this time that we recognise what needs to be changed and how we can respect and nurture our natural environment and children for the sake of the survival of nature and humanity. We all need to take responsibility for our own lives and initiate ways in which we can respect nature and provide opportunities for people and nature to coexist and thrive. The Enchanted Woods provides Forest School workshops for children in small groups within a woodland setting. Children are provided with the opportunity to learn, explore and grow as individuals with self- motivation for learning in a creative and inspiring way that encourages them to gain confidence within themselves. The groups are a maximum of 10 people and provide an opportunity for children to learn whilst social distancing with an outdoor environment. The Enchanted Woods Forest School Home Education and After School Clubs integrate subject knowledge, with exploration and child-led learning within a stimulating, safe and supportive environment. The following perspective and guidelines as set out by the Forest School Association will be adhered to at all times until COVID-19 risk of infection has ended to provide the safest and healthiest possible environment for our children's education:
The FSA Perspective
The government has acknowledged that ‘the risk of transmission outdoors is significantly lower‘. They suggest that people ‘move activity outdoors if you can‘. The DfE ask educators to ‘consider which lessons or classroom activities could take place outdoors‘. They highlight the challenges of implementing protective measures in education settings. One action is to split classes in half, with no more than 15 pupils per small group (early years and primary).
Now may be the time for Forest School to shine. Our members are very well positioned to meet these new needs. The FSA recommends that you start thinking about your own circumstances and client group and whether or not reopening your Forest School provision is the right thing for you in this time frame (assuming that you are closed). Please bear in mind that this time frame is conditional on the COVID-19 epidemic staying under control. Government policy could change at any time.
To limit the risk of person to person infection during session The Enchanted Woods will adhere to the following FSA guidelines:
Follow NHS guidance on how to limit person to person infection.
Regular handwashing with soap and water is the best way to remove the virus from your hands and prevent person to person infection.
Alcohol gel is particularly unsuitable in a Forest School setting where hands are likely to be covered in mud and soil. It is not recommended to be used at Forest School sessions.
Don’t allow people to share food and drink. Ask them to bring their own.
Anyone with a high temperature or even a mild cough should NOT be attending your sessions.
Anyone with a member of their household with either of these symptoms should NOT be attending the sessions. Stay away for at least 14 days.