Woodland Handbook

Please read through the below document before agreeing to our T&C's. Contact Us for any further info!

This document contains the following info:

• Our aims/ethos/guidelines

• Basic policies & procedures

• Useful info i.e. what to bring on the day, parking, clothing

To view our current Safeguarding Children, Confidentiality and Equal Opportunities policies please see here

 
 

About Us

AIMS

At GroWild we aim to provide a safe, secure and relaxed environment, offering a range of activities to reflect the interests of the children in our care.

WHAT WE OFFER

Fire lighting • Shelter building • Archery • Tree Climbing • Woodwork & tool use • Nature eco-art • Outdoor team and sport games • Walk the slack line and test your skills • Obstacle courses • Team building challenges • Learn all about tree and plant ID • Navigation games • Survival scenarios • Scavenger hunts • Test your knot knowledge • Wild food foraging & cookery  • Marshmallows and hot chocolate •  Wood fired pizzas • Butchery • Fireside stories • Wilderness First Aid…and more!

STAFFING

GroWild is staffed by fully qualified Forest School Leaders and Assistants. In addition we have volunteer staff. All of our staff have significant experience of working with children and undertake professional development training. All staff members are DBS checked. We maintain a staff/child ratio of 1:6 for children under the age of eight, and a ratio of 1:8 for children over the age of 8.  If you have a query or concern at any time, please speak to a member of staff at GroWild when you collect your child.

THE SITE

GroWild outdoor adventure camp is nestled in magical woodland at White House Farm. The secluded woodland offers privacy, safety and is free from public use (which means less mess!). Our trained leaders take care of the site on a daily basis running full risk assessments for all activities throughout the woodland. We have access to clean toilets, safe drinking water, electricity and indoor shelter in an emergency. Cafe facilities are within walking distance.

ORGANISATION

GroWild is run as a private business, employing qualified seasonal staff. We enjoy a close working relationship with the site owners at White House Farm in order to ensure continuity of care, and to ensure children have the best experience possible!

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

GroWild has clearly defined policies and procedures. Key points of the main policies are included here. Copies of the full policies are available for parents to consult on request. Please contact us for info or  to speak to a member of staff.

 

Booking

ADMISSION

GroWild aims to be accessible to children and families from all sections of our local community. Admission is organised by the Manager and we use a waiting list system when the need arises. The waiting list will be operated on a first come-first served basis, with the exception of siblings who will have priority for the same days as a sibling already attending. We require a completed set of registration forms for your child before they can attend the club. This information will be treated as confidential and will be stored appropriately.

PAYMENT OF FEES

Session fees are payable in advance by cash or cheque or bank transfer. The price per session per child applies to all children. This is payable for all booked sessions including when your child is sick, or on holiday (regardless of the amount of notice given). Please ensure that fees are paid promptly. If you are having difficulty paying fees, please speak in confidence to the Manager.

CHANGES TO DAYS AND CANCELLING YOUR PLACE

If you need to change the days that your child attends, please contact the Manager. We try to accommodate such changes wherever possible. Failure to attend an event/activity will be deemed a cancellation and you will forfeit 100% of the event/activity fee. If you cancel your event/activity 28 days or less before the event/activity is due to commence, 100% of the event/activity fee will be charged.

GROWILD CANCELLATION

GroWild reserves the right to cancel sessions in circumstances beyond our control (i.e. adverse weather conditions including, but not limited to, high winds and storms, closure of venue, staff illness). We will offer an alternative session if appropriate. If GroWild are unable to offer a catch up session then a full refund will be given. 

 

Policies

FOREST SCHOOL ACTIVITIES

Forest school sessions encourage and inspire children through positive and FUN outdoor experiences. Children are encouraged to explore the woodland in all weathers, and through both free and structured play, education and activities, learn to be successful at; handling risk, co-operation, boundaries of behaviour, physical and social development, health & hygiene awareness, solving problems, experiencing the beauty of the natural environment and more! All sessions are designed around a theme. Your forest school leader will be observing your child’s play and development during each session. These observations and recordings will enable your FS leader to fully evaluate each session ensuring each child is getting the most from each outdoor experience. 

THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE FOREST SCHOOL LEADER AND ASSISTANT(S)

• Create an environment that is as safe as it can be and without undue risk to health.

• Use, maintain and store equipment safely.

• Ensure that all staff are competent in the work in which they are engaged.

• The identification, assessment and control of hazards within the Forest School is vital in reducing accidents and incidents to eliminate or control any such risk identified.

• The Forest School leader wille ensure that the Forest School operates in a safe and minimally hazardous manner.

• The Forest School team will constantly monitor the Health and Safety policy and amend it as necessary; providing resources as required. All accidents/incidents will be recorded in the FS leader and schools accident/incident book where required. The accident/incident book will be reviewed after each terms sessions to ensure policies are effective.

RULES OF OUR FOREST SCHOOL

1. This is our work area, visible rope marks the boundary. Stay inside the visible rope. Children are made aware of the boundaries.

2. Take care with sticks. Stick carrying-hold them pointing down (demo) or take your stick for a walk along the ground.

3. Nettles and brambles-be careful of them.

4. We only eat food we brought with us not what we find in the forest.

5. Try not to put your fingers in your mouth and eyes. Wash our hands before eating.

6. Leave the wild flowers and flora/fauna for other people to enjoy.

7. Fire circle: do not walk into the fire circle, only adults touch the fire.

8. When you hear “1, 2, 3 where are you” answer with your name.

9. Tree climbing: Check with an adult first

10. Have fun!

SECURITY

Children are not allowed to leave the GroWild premises during the session unless prior permission has been given by the parents. Staff monitor the entrances and exits to the premises throughout the session.

ARRIVALS AND DEPARTURES POLICY

GroWild recognises the importance of having robust systems in place to ensure the safe arrival and departure of the children in our care. The Leader will ensure that an accurate record is kept of all children at the session/event, and that any arrivals or departures are recorded in the register. The register is kept in an accessible location on the premises at all times. In addition we conduct regular headcounts during the session. Children will meet one member of GroWild staff in the carpark before the beginning of the session to be escorted to the site.

POOR WEATHER AND SHELTER POLICY

Forest School sessions will go ahead in all weather conditions with only a few exceptions; Strong winds that make woodland areas hazardous for use due to falling debris, when it is dangerous to get to the woodland by foot due to snow, flooding or ice, very wet cold conditions where hypothermia is a real possibility. Exposure to the elements is part of the magic of nature and therefore an integral part of forest school. In inclement and/or cold weather we will erect temporary shelters to enable us to take shelter. 

STAFF MOBILE PHONE POLICY

GroWild fosters a ‘culture of safety’ in which the children and staff are protected from abuse, harm, and distress. Personal mobile phones belonging to members of staff are kept in personal belongings during working hours. Under no circumstances may staff use their personal mobile phones to take photographs at the club during working hours. Instead, staff may record any activities and lessons using the GroWild iPad camera only. Whilst we understand that some children have mobile phones, we actively discourage them from using their phones when on site at GroWild. The club does not accept any responsibility for loss or damage to mobile phones brought to the club by the children. Children must not use their mobile phone to take photographs of any kind whilst at the club. If they want a photograph of a particular activity they can ask a member of staff to take one using the club camera.

BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT POLICY

Young people and learners should feel valued and safe. They should also understand what is expected of them. This policy sets out a framework of routines and boundaries of behaviour:

• FS Leaders will be positive role models by dealing  with situations in a clear, calm, polite and positive manner.

• Positive behaviour will be reinforced with encouragement and praise.

• It is the responsibility of the FS leader and staff to anticipate and avoid problematic situations by not allowing learners to become bored and unstimulated. 

• It must be made clear that it is the behaviour that is unacceptable, not the person.

• The FS leaders and staff will agree on a set of strategies for dealing with unacceptable behaviour. These strategies will be applied with consistency by all members of staff.

• FS Leaders and staff will avoid shouting.

• FS Leaders and staff will; encourage and facilitate mediation between leaners to try to resolve conflicts through negotiation and discussion. 

• Behaviour that is unacceptable will be challenged in a calm and assertive manner.

• In the event that the unacceptable behaviour persists, a more serious action may be necessary in accordance with the Exclusion policy.

• Physical restraint may only ever be used as the last resort when every other measure has failed and there is a risk of harm to self or others or serious damage to property.

• Certain instances and persistent occurrences of unacceptable behaviour will be recorded on incident forms.


GROWILD T&C'S

Boundaries: It is VITAL you and your child(ren) remain within the boundaries and perimeters of the woodland site as directed by the GroWild leader. These will be marked and discussed at the beginning of every session. Clients who wander past these boundaries do so at their own risk - the environment here may not have been surveyed/managed. 

Farm Site/Moving around the site: Your child(ren) remain your responsibility whilst on the farm site (when not in the care of the GroWild leaders) including, but not limited to; use of the carpark, toilet facilities, PYO areas, pathways and journeying to and from the GroWild woodland site. You are expected to be aware of; other members of the public using the site, machinery, trips, hazards and risk. 

Allergies: Any allergies must be notified to the GroWild event leader immediately. We cannot be responsible for reactions/allergies to materials we use. Allergies might include nuts, egg, wheat, gluten,latex, plant and insect allergies including bee/insect stings. We use non-toxic, child friendly, age stage appropriate materials at all times but cannot be responsible for reactions or allergies to materials we use. Medical information for you and your child must be up to date and notified to the GroWild leader where applicable.

Ticks & Bugs: There are ticks and bugs in the woodland all year round. Please ensure you have provided adequate clothing for the session plus insect repellant for your child. We will NOT accept responsibility for bites, ticks or stings on you or your child when out in the woodland. This is a natural occurrence of being in a woodland/outdoor space. Children are encouraged to be vigilant when using the woodland space and check items of clothing and skin for signs of ticks throughout the day. 

Materials: We use non-toxic, child friendly, age stage appropriate materials.  All materials are made in the knowledge that they are to be played with under a parent/carer’s supervision.

Property: All personal property that you bring with you or provide for you/your child on site will remain your responsibility AT ALL TIMES. We will not be responsible whatsoever for any loss or damage to your luggage and/or personal equipment.

Staff: A trained, insured, CRB checked & first aid trained member of staff will always be present.

Photography:  Please confirm that you agree to give permission to use any still and/or moving image being video footage, photographs and/or frames and/or audio footage depicting your children, taken by ‘GroWild’, for use of any of the following uses: advertisements, marketing, social media, leaflets, or any other use such as for training, educational or publicity purposes. The above consents will apply throughout the world and be for an indefinite period.

Tool/Fire use: GroWild workshops will involve bushcraft, campfire cooking, tool use, crafts and more – all of which come with an element of risk. Staff at GroWild regularly review all aspects of health, safety and risk on site and have taken all reasonable practical steps to mitigate these risks.  All equipment and activities have been risk assessed and we run a daily check on site. 

Clothing: GroWild sessions are aimed at getting kids outdoors as much as possible so please bring warm and waterproof outdoor clothing and footwear as recommended above. We advise you DO NOT wear clothing that you are concerned might get damaged or stained as we cannot accept ANY responsibility for damage to clothing. If, in the sole opinion of the event/activity leader, your clothing and/or equipment is deemed unsafe, you will not be allowed to take part in any or whole of the session and will be asked to leave the site.

Weather protection: Please provide sunscreen and insect repellent for your child. We cannot apply any products to your child’s skin, so please ensure your child is protected before entering the site. Adults/children are welcome to bring their own products and regularly apply them. 


NOTE: To view our current Safeguarding Children, Confidentiality and Equal Opportunities policies please see here

 

Useful Info

PARKING

We have parking for up to 20 cars on site. When you arrive at the site, please drive through the main cafe car park up the track on your left (follow the huge poplar trees!). You will come to a separate carpark where one of our leaders will meet you. Please note, if you are dropping off/picking up your children for a school holiday session then you are allocated approx 15 mins free parking. We recommend you take a look at out contact page for directions to the site here

ARRIVALS, DEPARTURES & ABSENCES

Our staff will greet each child warmly on their arrival at GroWild and will record the child’s attendance in the daily register straightaway, including the time of arrival. Children are collected by an adult who has been authorised to do so on their registration form. In exceptional circumstances, if the parent requires another person who is not listed on the registration form to collect their child, the child’s parents or carers must inform GroWild in advance and provide a description of the person and a password that they will use. If the manager has any concerns regarding the person collecting he/she will contact the main parent or carer for confirmation. The parent or carer must notify GroWild if they will be late collecting their child. If GroWild is not informed, the ‘Uncollected Children’ policy will be followed. If a child is going to be absent from a session, parents must notify GroWild in advance.

CLOTHING

No person will be permitted to go to Forest School without appropriate clothing that will protect them from extremes of heat or cold, keep them covered to reduce the likelihood of cuts and scrapes and that fits appropriately for comfort. Children and parents are encouraged to think about the usefulness of their clothing for outdoor activities, and to be aware they are likely to take some of our mud home with them after a session. In the forest it can often be cooler than expected under the shade of the trees. We require children to have long sleeves and long trousers in both winter and summer. This is particularly important in the summer to protect from tick bites, sun burn, stinging nettles and thorns. 

Children will need:

• Jumper/fleece

• Sun hat in summer, warm hat in winter

• Gloves & scarf in winter

• Sun cream applied before session PLUS extra for regular application (summer only)

• Insect repellant applied before session PLUS extra for regular application (all year)

• Lightweight long sleeved top

• Lightweight long trousers (no shorts please!)

• Wellies or hard shoes - preferably lined for warmth.

• Forest School leaders and staff will ensure all the children are appropriately dressed before leaving for the woodland.

• As we do get muddy/wet children must be provided with a full change of clothes

• We recommend waterproof trousers in the autumn and winter months.

FOOD

The food we provide at GroWild is not intended as a substitute for a main daytime meal. We provide ‘snacks’ around the campfire, including hot chocolate, fruit and marshmallows. We do provide extra drinking water on site. We promote independence, by encouraging the children to prepare their own snacks, and to clear away after themselves. We use fresh ingredients and follow statutory guidelines. We meet individual dietary requirements and parental preferences wherever possible. We allow children to decide when they are ready to eat, but request that food be consumed during set eating hours. 

Members should bring a packed lunch each day with enough snacks and healthy food to see them through the day with plenty of physical activities. Please provide a full water bottle – we can top up with extra if your child does run out!

CONTACT ON SITE

If you need to contact a member of staff on site during holiday club hours please use our mobile number: 07876 798983.

For any further information on the above polices/info or to speak to a member of staff please contact us