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Forest school/flexi schooling(6 Posts)
I wasn’t sure where to post this but I’m looking for any experience or general advice please.
Where we live we have a forest kindergarten that has children from 3-7yrs, 3 days a week during term time. Has anyone done this as an alternative to full time school?
How did this work? Do people home school the remaining 2 days or have a flexi schooling agreement with a traditional primary school?
I’m just looking at options (my DS is still a baby!) and different ways this could work.
I love that his early years could be spent exploring and learning this way but also want to make sure he gets a good education. I don’t really know where to start with researching and exploring the options so any experiences, good or bad, or any tips as to where I might start would be greatly appreciated
It's great that you have that option you can start him there now, you don't need to decide about traditional school yet. If you don't need a full days nursery though I would be reluctant to leave for a whole day at that age. Very few state schools allow flexischooling if they do it's usually just one day off. But until they reach compulsory school age (term after fifth birthday) you have the right to send them part-time.
He is June born so he could perhaps do part time during reception year.
Each day is 9.30-3.30 so not too bad.
I had not considered home schooling but read about flexi schooling, I thought maybe it could be disruptive though. Forest school is a minimum of 2 days a week.
So much to think about!
Where abouts do you live? Lots of schools, especially in the countryside, now offer forest school as part of their day. They are mostly private schools but I think some state schools also would offer it in Bath/Hampshire etc. If you are in London though then options are much more limited. I think it would be quite unsettling for your child to be the only one in the class missing lessons. The school may also object that your son is missing key learning.
The disruption is the biggest concern, children need consistency.
We are in Brighton, our local schools do forest school for 1 day a week but just for one school year. I liked that he could be more emursed in it and could follow the Scandinavian blueprint of learning through play until 7.
There is always the option of home schooling for the additional 2 days so maybe that is something I need to look into in greater detail. I am an educator by profession.
Thank you for peoples thoughts
My DS attended a forest pre-school and really thrived in the setting. I don't think that the one day or one afternoon per week which tends to be offered by mainstream infants schools is at all equivalent to a full-time outdoor setting. I would have loved him to be able to remain in a forest school setting for at least the Reception year, if not longer. We considered home ed plus 3 days/week at forest school but...he started Reception in September at the local infants school in the end. (It is very sympathetic to forest school principles, "does" forest school once a week, has good outdoor space etc but...not the same thing, which does make me sad.)
The deciding factor for us was that the schools we liked are oversubscribed so the only way to get in is to apply in the main admission round, for Year R or Year 2. So if he didn't start Reception, DS would be out until Year 2. Advice was that this would be a very difficult transition at age 7/8 because of not having followed the same curriculum and in particular a deliberately later start for formal reading and writing (which starts so terribly early in state schools in this country). I'm aware that many children would catch up without major difficulty but there is a family history of dyslexia and we didn't want to risk it.
On flexi-schooling, local schools were 50/50 round here as to whether they would be open to part-time attendance up to statutory school age. And none would have been willing to allow flexi-schooling proper ie beyond statutory school age. The law changed a couple of years ago to make schools formally responsible for pupil's education even on days when they are being educated on site so I suppose it isn't any wonder schools are very reluctant to agree it. Our plan (for which we had the school's agreement) was originally for DS to attend Forest School 1 day/week for the first two terms of Reception, but we pulled that idea at his request as he didn't want to be the only one of his peers who wasn't "moving up" to big school, and it would have confused the transition.