THE NITTY GRITTY
FOREST SCHOOL: Forest School is an education model in which kids are outdoors for the entire school day in almost any weather condition. Forest School practitioners believe that a child's natural sense of wonder will be their best and most important guide in their learning. Forest School Days is intended to supplement education for home schooling and unschooling families. There will not be any formally trained educators on duty.
STRUCTURE: This is not a class. In the spirit of unschooling these are largely child led and unguided. Each Forest School Day will likely include a casual suggestion of an activity, a craft or a story to inspire play, some pointing out of plant/tree names and their human uses and access to some aids for exploration (guide books, tools, etc). Some days may be more structured as we will occasionally invite seasoned woodsy people and park employees/naturalists to help the kids learn about wild edible and medicinal plants, building a fire, making cordage, etc. Some days we may be having so much fun in the magical place we find ourselves in that no formal teaching/planned group activity will happen at all. Think of this as a super rad playdate with awesome people in the woods!
POOP: We are sometimes not near a bathroom. There will be a poop kit available to assist doing business in the woods if someone needs to do that.
BABIES/BABY POOP: Some places we meet will not be easily accessed by stroller so be prepared to carry anyone who doesn't walk well (hike distances and speeds will be planned with younger kids in mind though). If you have someone in diapers expect to not be near a trash can or your vehicle.
FASHION: This will be more fun if no one has to worry about clothing. Dress to be comfortable in the weather and wear clothes that you don't mind getting wet, muddy or torn. In rain/snow/mud a rainsuit is super helpful for staying comfy and taking pressure off kids to stay dry and clean. These rainsuits are not too warm for spring/fall days but made large enough to fit over bulky winter clothes. Bringing a change of clothes is also a good idea. When reasonably warm consider wearing hiking sandals or water shoes because puddles and larger water sources will be calling us for splashing.
NOURISHMENT: Bring as much water, snacks and lunch as you will need. Food swapping/sharing encouraged but food/snacks will not be provided.
SAFETY: Part of the Forest School model is engaging in "risky" play to build confidence, learn and bond with the group. We will be climbing logs/trees, tasting wild foods (identified by knowledgeable adults), playing amongst thorns, sticks and rocks and we will often be near water. A first aid kit will be available and at least one adult with knowledge of plants to avoid touching will be present. Hazards to avoid specific to the area will be pointed out clearly at the start of each gathering.