We offer specialist outdoor learning sessions for Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers 0-7 years and Home Educated children 3-11 years, in a private woodland on Ridgeway farmland just south of Wantage. We welcome parents; childcarers; childminders and nannies with their children. Children above three can attend unaccompanied.
Oak Leaf Forest School offers children the opportunity for space & freedom in an amazing woodland space. Here they can explore; climb; build dens; swing and experience the natural world all year round, whilst learning and developing as individuals and building a lifelong love for the outdoors. Children will develop in many ways, particularly physically; socially; linguistically and most importantly in their self-esteem.
There is much research and evidence to show that regular Forest School experiences have a profound effect on a child’s development. Forest School develops the whole child and engenders in them a love and respect for the environment.
What are the benefits of Oak Leaf Forest School?:
A typical day at Oak Leaf Forest School goes like this…
Forest School is a unique and life-forming experience for all involved. It gives children the chance to develop their confidence and self-esteem through hands on real life learning experiences and small achievable tasks in our enchanting woodland. The learning and play is centred around the child and their interests. We also take into account the changing natural conditions of the woodland. As a result of this approach children gain a real sense of ownership in their learning and the learning that takes place is far more powerful and lasting.
Typical experiences at Oak Leaf Forest School include:
One element of Forest School is allowing children to take manageable risks under the guidance of staff. These risks can be as simple as negotiating the uneven ground, to using a bow saw to cut sticks. Through this process they learn to manage their own risk levels, which gives them essential skills to judge how to manage risks they may come across in life. The benefits of any risky experiences at Forest School are strongly considered in balance with the perceived risk.
Such experiences can be:
Forest School first came to the UK in 1993, when a research group from Bridgewater College, Somerset, came back from studying Early Years education in Denmark. Impressed with the largely outdoor, child-centred and play-based learning they set up their own Forest School.
Since the early 2000’s Forest School came to Oxfordshire. Mhairi was part of the team who ensured it spread to as many schools; pre-schools and children’s centres as possible over the next decade. Her aim now is to make sure as many children as possible who cannot access Forest School in the Wantage area and beyond have the chance to do so (or even if they already do Forest School, but want to do more!).
Oak Leaf Forest School hope to be able to offer longer sessions on more days in the future. We could also accommodate settings/schools who wish to be able to offer Forest School and can do Birthday Parties.
Mhairi is a qualified Level 3 Forest School Leader and Trainer. She is also a qualified teacher with First Aid; Safeguarding, DBS checks and food hygiene. Other Oak Leaf staff have many years experience with children and are also DBS checked. Anne is our Home Education Leader she is also a trained teacher and has taught four of her children at home over a period of six years. She started volunteering with Oak Leaf Forest School in April 2016 and is currently finalising her Level 3 Forest School Leader training. Could you help too? We also welcome any parents, other family members or volunteers who wish to help out.
|Unaccompanied 3-7 year olds||£9|
|3-7 year olds (first child)||£7|
|3-7 year olds (second child)||£5|
|Under 3 year olds||£5|
|Mobile under 2 year old||£3|
|Babes in arms||free|
Forest School is most effective for a child’s development if it happens regularly, so for this reason it is best that your children book for a term. However, we do recognise that some people prefer a degree of flexibility. So for this reason you can opt to pay for a term minus one flexible day to be taken when you choose. For example if it is a six week term you pay for 5 sessions:
If you wish to have a one off session then it will be an additional £1 on whichever pricing structure you fall into.
When you first join it is important to make sure it suits your child so we do not expect you to pay for a whole term but 3 weeks. This is the recommended amount of time to make a proper judgement of how your child is finding it in the woodland. After the 3 weeks you would then pay the remainder of the terms sessions.
Please contact Mhairi using the form below to book and receive directions and any information you need.