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Nursery - Forest school in the rain ?

(19 Posts)
Hannahmum35 Fri 23-Sep-11 12:05:33

My youngest has just started nursery, so far so good.

The nursery is only mornings and every wednesday mornings the nursery has a forest school, which means the entire class is outdoors for 2.5 hours.

Lovely idea, but i found out yesterday still will be done the entire year. One of the mums said to me that she did complain last year as they were still doing this in the pooring rain with childeren coming home cold en very wet, but she was informed take it or leave it as they do not have enough staff to monitor outdoor as well as in.

I checked with my keyworker and she informed me that indeed they do not look at the weather, even in the bitter cold they sit outside for 2.5 hours but than the childeren do get hot milk.

Is this normal ? I am keen on the forest school theme, but not for my little one (she isn`t even 3) to sit for 2.5 hours in the rain on winter months outside. I was informed most nurseries have 1 morning of forest school and this is now a normal thing to do.

When i asked them if it was really cold if she could play in, they informed me also no, not enough staff and if this was a problem i could always keep her home that day.

Hannah ;)

EdithWeston Fri 23-Sep-11 12:07:24

Yes - it's part of the whole ethos of such schools. If you do not share that ethos, then you'd probably be better with a different style of nursery.

thisisyesterday Fri 23-Sep-11 12:08:07

well i don't think they'll just be sitting outside will they? they'll be running around and doing activities and keeping warm

and if you provide the necessary clothes (set of waterproofs, gloves and hat) then i fail to see the problem tbh

i would say that if you know how the nursery works and you dislike it then you should put your child in a different setting

Hannahmum35 Fri 23-Sep-11 12:13:11

Yes you can adjust the clothes to suit, but when it is bitterly cold I don`t feel small childeren should be sitting outside for 2.5 hours.

I did ask about the running around, but they all have a place to sit and listen to stories and sing songs as the place they have to facilitate this is 2 small for the childeren to run around.

thisisyesterday Fri 23-Sep-11 12:16:16

hardly a forest school then if all they do is sit outside to listen to stories.

they're not allowed to play while they're outside at all?

I have absolutely no problem with kids being out all year round, but in this case I would say it sounds pretty odd with how they are running it.

thisisyesterday Fri 23-Sep-11 12:16:49

in fact, i'd have a massive problem with my child being made to sit down for 2.5 hours and sing songs inside or out hmm

SuePurblybilt Fri 23-Sep-11 12:19:17

I'm a FS teacher and they shouldn't be sitting anywhere for 2 1/2 hours straight. Part of a long session might include sitting to create or for a story or instructions but that'd be ten minutes, tops. I'd be very surprised if they keep smalls sitting anywhere, inside or out, singing songs for nearly three hours.

I'd ask to sit in on part of a session or speak directly to the FS Leader/Teacher to get a clearer picture of what goes on. If there's no room to move about, what they're offering is fairly pointless anyway and I'd question what the children get from the experience.

FS is perfectly possible, and very valuable, with small children in pouring rain, with the right waterproofs, shelter and activities. Reading stories in the wet without those resources is just odd.

QueenOfFeckingEverything Fri 23-Sep-11 12:20:08


i can't imagine any nursery making the children sit down doing songs and stories for 2.5 hours, indoors or out, tbh

are you sure ALL they do is sit down for 2.5 hours?

Hannahmum35 Fri 23-Sep-11 12:23:06

They have a little area cornered off, the nursery space outside isn`t very big but i knew that really, there is a little wooden table with little tools around where the childeren sit.

The hall were the nursery is gets used as a yoga gathering on wednesday afternoons and one of the mums told me she thinks they do the forest school so it saves them time clearing up the hall that day. I can understand it a little but I always expected my little one still to be able to play inside also but it seems they all have to sit outside that morning. I guess not much i can do ?

thisisyesterday Fri 23-Sep-11 12:30:44

well if it were me i would ask exactly what happens during the outside session. whether there is a chance for them to run around etc. just get them to confirm whether or not they literally just sit outside all morning.

if that is in fact the case then I would complain, big time.

I would also consider speaking to ofsted or the LEA or similar. I know many may feel that is OTT, but it is NOT ok to make small children just sit down for 2.5 hours. and I would be concerned that if they are cutting corners in this area that they may be lacking in other areas.

i would also remove her from the setting and find a better nursery.

is it a private nursery or just a playgroup type place?

SuePurblybilt Fri 23-Sep-11 12:30:50

You can ask if they're Forest School trained and poke a little at their thinking behind being out in all weathers. Are they trying to use up their guidelines of being outside 50% of the time all in one day?

If you feel your child is miserable there then you should be thinking about your options imo. Forest school in all weathers is a positive thing. Sitting outdoors all morning for no reason in bad weather and without appropriate resources, activities and planning is neither good practice or FS, in my opinion.

I've had a lot of parents get sniffy when their pfb is out in cold/rain and it's usually something I can address with them. It doesn't sound to me, from your posts, like your nursery is willing/able to back up their practice or is open to communication. That's something that would concern me tbh.

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Fri 23-Sep-11 12:40:02

I would be worried by that. 2 hours + of being outside in the cold and rain running around, playing games etc is fine. You can make sure she's appropriately dresses. 2 hours + of sitting outside in the cold and rain is stupid, pointless and will lead to childen getting very cold and unhappy. And it's totally against the whole 'forest school' concept.

Hannahmum35 Fri 23-Sep-11 12:44:45

I didn`t know they had to be forest school trained? They ask parents to bring wellingtons & waterproofs though but that is it.

Thank you for all the advise i will certainly ask to sit on so i can see myself how it works. I am all for outdoors, but outdoors activities which this seems to lack greatly.

I did ask about why they are out in all the weathers and was told that the childeren enjoy it. My daughter doesn`t enjoy it and it is getting a struggle bringing her in on that morning. I did suggest to do a poll asking the parents if this is something they support or not but they were not willing to do so.
I just wish we had an option.

MogandMe Fri 23-Sep-11 12:46:32

I am a childcare worker - althouth currently work as a nanny.

I love the forest school thinking and mentality - I think it promotes awithout the children realising they're just playing outside.

When children I look after go to forest school, they spend all morning running around, counting bugs, climbing trees, building dens. Yes they can get cold but that's only because they haven't been dressed appropriately. I dress A in tights, trousers, several pairs of socks, long vest, long top, jumper, coat and forest school overalls/coat.

SuePurblybilt Fri 23-Sep-11 12:48:50

They don't have to be no, it's not a trademark or a requirement. It would be interesting to know, that's all, if there is thought and training behind some of their practice decisions.

Children absolutely do enjoy being outside in all weathers, generally speaking. Even the ones that initially find it tough eventually seem to get the most out of it. Usually I'd jump on these threads with a poky stick, quoting chapter and verse on outdoor play theories at you.

But sitting outside for long periods of time, with almost no space to move, is not forest school.

You do have an option, you have the option to move nurseries if you're not happy. Easier said than done, I know.

HoneyPablo Sat 24-Sep-11 09:23:03

But they don't need to run around outside. there are plenty of other things they can do outside.
I doubt very much that they are sitting for 2 1/2 hours for a story. In fact, it is impossible for anybody to force small children to sit still for that long.
Why don't you ask if you can stay for a session so you can see for yourself what it is they do? Or ask if they can take some phots of the session.

jade80 Tue 11-Oct-11 01:55:38

Hmm. I would say if your account of events is accurate, and they have no forest school trained staff, then they are not running a forest school, just outdoor play. Ask to see details of their fs qualifications, who they trained with, and to see their risk assessments specific to fs. Also ask if they plan for the sessions and how this is recorded. Ask if they use schemas in their planning. It all sounds a bit odd. Yes fs involves stories, but it also involves tool use, managed risk, campfires, den building etc. Without those things it would be a bit rubbish and isn't really fs.

AKMD Tue 11-Oct-11 12:21:24

It sounds a bit odd to me. Sitting outside isn't FS as I understand it.

If you're happy to stay with this nursery, I would get your DD an all-in-one, fleece-lined, waterproof playsuit, some proper Wellington boot socks and waterproof gloves, in addition to a fleece hat and scarf. This will keep her warm and dry. DS has this playsuit by Togz. His nursery keeps a rack of them in various sizes so that the children can play outside in the rain and snow and I was so impressed that I got one for home too.

pozzled Tue 11-Oct-11 12:27:09

I think you do need to question further what happens outside. I would have no issue whatsoever with my DD being outside in all weathers- so long as the activities were appropriate and engaging. In cold weather I'd expect them to be moving around a lot to keep warm, but obviously a lot calmer on very hot days.

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