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image of a child and parent playing at making a soup with herbs and water in the mud kitchen at HARE Forest School

Forest Play

HARE - Holistic. Accessible. Regenerative. Education.

Forest Play is a woodland stay and play for parents/carers, babies and young children from birth to around 6 years.

Forest Play runs on Monday mornings during term time in Parkend, Gloucestershire.  We will also be opening a second Forest Play at our Mitcheldean site in late Spring/early Summer 2024.

Forest Play is neuro-friendly and we welcome all families including home educating and flexi-schooling families, Grandparents and other carers.

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Time & Day

Our Forest Play sessions run on Monday mornings during term time, 9:30am-11:30am in the woodland at Beaver Lodge, Whitecroft road, Parkend, Gloucestershire, GL15 4HG.

Booking

Booking is through our website in either a half term block, a 4 week block.  You can book a taster on any week we are open or use this to book one week at a time.  If you would like to book a block part-way though a half term, please email us and we will send you a discount code for the weeks already past. Please book a place for each child attending.  Adults are included in the price and do not need a separate booking.  Forest Play gets busy in the warmer months, so we advise booking early.

You can buy Forest Play as a gift, with our Gift Voucher.  If you would like to join us, but are not able to afford to book, please see our bursary page to see whether we currently have subsidised places available for families on low incomes.

 Please subscribe to our mailing list (at the bottom of the page) to be the first to hear when booking for a new half term opens and to find out about what else we are doing.

If you have any queries, please email us on info@harecic.co.uk or WhatsApp Charlie on 07761164352.

More info below

About Forest Play

Forest Play is based in a fenced, ancient woodland in Parkend.  It is a fully outdoor group for Parents/carers, babies & children.  There is plenty of space in the woodland, so the wide age range works well.  Forest Play is SEN and neurodiversity friendly.

 

Parents, Grandparents, Nannies, Childminders and other carers are all welcome.  The session runs just like a Forest School session for older children, but adapted for younger children.

Our activities are accessible for children to choose when they wish.  We have 2 short adult-led circle times.  The first at the beginning of the session for introductions a quick word about what is on offer that day, and any important safety points.  We finish the session with a circle time with a story and some songs.  Children are not required to join the circle times if they are not able to sit or find being together in the group difficult.

We don't have a "snack time".  Please feel free to follow your child's needs throughout the session and give them a snack when they need it.  We have cups for children to use and water available.  Please bring your child's sippy cup if this is what they use.

Parents have been telling us how much their child loves Forest Play and is excited about going to our sessions.  They have also seen leaps in their children's physical, social and emotional development, and new speech.  Forest School is not just for children, Forest school is beneficial for people of all ages. Parents are finding being outdoors and meeting other parents is really beneficial for their mental and emotional well-being, and that they are a calmer and more present parent as a result.

Ages & Needs

"HARE forest school sessions are brilliant! My daughter has grown so much in confidence as well as developing social and physical skills. She absolutely loves the sessions. There are no other groups like it. It's a wonderful, child led introduction to the outdoors that will no doubt foster a lifelong love of nature."

Gemma, Mum of 2 year old.

Babies & Adults

We have a cosy baby area within the log circle to prevent older children running near babies that are sitting or lying.

Come and meet like-minded parents. We have hot drinks for the adults, including real coffee.  We normally have a choice of milks (cows, soya or oat) in our cool box.  Please bring a travel mug with secure lid if you have one.

 

We don't charge for young babies who are not yet standing/walking and able to access the play activities.  Please use the discount code FPUNDERONE100 for a 100% discount at the checkout for young babies.  If you would like to book a one off taster, use the code TASTERUNDERONE100.

Toddlers

Our sessions are play-based and child-led, with activities such as sensory play, water play, mud kitchen play, play dough, painting, natural crafts, exploring the woods, nature ID and scavenger hunts.  One of the children's favourite activities during the Summer is playing in the stream, spotting fish and other creatures. There are often a crayfish and trout in the stream.  

Children

Children at the older end of the age range can also try bushcrafts, such as whittling and sawing.  If your child is older than the advertised age range and you feel they would benefit from attending a group with a parent or carer, they are very welcome and we are happy to accommodate a range of needs, which works well in the woodland environemnt.

Forest School Principles

Forest School is an atmosphere created by community within the woodland, facilitated by Forest School trained professionals.  Forest School is designed to build confidence, self-esteem and emotional resilience.  ​Forest School works brilliantly with learners who are anxious or have low self-esteem, and can help others find their voice.  It creates a positive road to mental well-being, through understanding problems and working them through to solutions.  This resilience is so important especially as  mental health problems in both children and adults are increasing.  

 

You can read more about Forest School and it's 6 core principles on our Forest School page

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