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End of Summer Term Newsletter Update

This week has been the end of term for many, including our Parent & Toddler Forest School group. We celebrated the end of term by cooking on the fire and sharing food together. Such a wonderful nurturing community activity.

The summer solstice has passed us, an opportunity to celebrate the life force of the sun and the energy and abundance that it brings. We have been enjoying the coolness and shade that the large oaks offer us in the woodland. Particularly during the hot weather in May and June.

Having been in our setting a few months now our observations of the landscape are creating a narrative of its own. The wood anemone that flowered in March gave way to bluebells that scattered the woodland floor. We observed the squishy patches of mud and our big puddle dry during the sunny weather. Then the puddle returned during the recent rain. We observed the oak trees grow leaves of a bright green, which turned darker as we moved into Summer. And little seedlings of ash, oak and hawthorn pushing their way up through the soil in their search for sunlight.

We spot the deer tracks, and after each session observe the crows and squirrels that rummage around looking for scraps of food. A female blackbird sings to us a sweet melody on the roof of the lodge. It has become a habit now to look for their visits, it gives us a sense of belonging.

Recently we were delighted to see fish in the stream, darting about in the shady waters. Then last week we saw a crayfish very well disguised against the stream bed. We look forward to more exciting discoveries and observations and sharing these with new families and children.

The staff of HARE are as busy as ever in the background, creating new offerings, following our dreams and building a community.

In June we held a free taster session for home educating families. This was a great opportunity for us to meet new families, like-minded parents and enjoy an afternoon playing in the woodland. These experiences are also invaluable for us to have conversations with parents to discuss the needs and wants for their children so we can plan and tailor our future sessions. In September we will be running a weekly Forest School Workshop for home educating children. This will be a drop off sessions for children aged 8-12 years.

Our Parent and Toddler Forest School group has been a huge success, with the families settling into the rhythm of the sessions. We love getting to know families and getting to know the children's needs and interests to enable us to plan our sessions to meet their needs. It is amazing watching the children grow and develop. The young toddlers who joined our very first session are now turning from toddlers to children. We have had a baby siblings born and a second is due any moment. Seeing the children develop and the parents get to know each other feeds our passion and drive to nurture families and to create more opportunities to hold space in nature for children to be free and explore their environment, and themselves.

This Summer term also saw the launch of our Facebook Group "Learning in Nature Forest of Dean". We have created this group to develop a safe, really supportive and mindful community of parents and practitioners, where we can support each other in supporting the children we care for or work with. We would love you to join us.

Charlie has recently begun leading her Nurture in Nature Walks on Wednesday mornings. An opportunity for families with babies and young children to meet, and go for a mindful stroll in the Forest of Dean and connect with nature and other parents. Finishing the walk with a picnic and a cup of tea. This is a free activity (although donations will be welcome 🙂).

We are also excitedly working on plans for our Children's Forest School Workshops in August. There is the option for children eligible for benefits related free school meals to join us for FREE (although places are limited). There will be games, craft activities and opportunities for children to learn woodland skills in a safe, nurturing environment. The workshops will run for 5 days in the week commencing 7th August, 10:30am to 2:30pm (Mon, Tues, Wed and Fri). Booking is open now.

We will also be holding our next Family Forest Gathering on Thursday the 10th August. An opportunity for the whole family to experience the wonders of Forest School. Families whose children are eligible for benefits related free school meals can book these for free!

Booking is now open.

In September we will be running a weekly after school Children's Forest School Workshop at the Beaver Lodge in Parkend on Mondays during term time from 11th September. Booking is now open!

Later in the year we are planning to hold ‘Women’s Wellbeing Gatherings’, an opportunity for women to connect, inspire and support each other whilst learning woodland crafts that will connect you to nature. Please get in touch if you're interested.

We have more exciting plans coming your way later in the year and into next year. So keep an eye on our emails and social media. Please like, comment and share, share, share our posts to tell the algorithm you want to hear from us and so that others can enjoy Forest School.

As always, we thank you for your support, and wish you well!

Susie, Charlie & the HARE Forest School Team

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