I’m really excited to announce that last week I became a member of the Forest Childcare Association for my childminding business Clare’s Little Tots. I’m really passionate about getting the Tots outside whatever the weather so after researching more about becoming a member I signed straight up as Forest Childcare reflects my ethos when it comes to the importance of getting children outside.
What is Forest Childcare?
Forest childcare is a best practice initiative for all early years providers who want to offer regular trips to explore the great outdoor for the children they care for. It’s based on the ideas practiced by Forest Schools which are starting to pop up in the UK and are run by qualified Forest School Level 3 Practitioners.
The importance of outdoor play is well documented and The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which all Early Years Practitioners must adhere to states that:
3.58. Providers must provide access to an outdoor play area or, if that is not possible, ensure that outdoor activities are planned and taken on a daily basis (unless circumstances make this inappropriate, for example unsafe weather conditions).
Forest Childcare is about more than children being outside in the garden or on the school run, it’s about committing to regular outings to the woods, on walks, nature reserves, parks and green spaces. It’s about giving children the opportunity to explore and discover the great outdoors where they can learn to manage their own risks and where they can learn to appreciate and care for the natural environment around them.
The Five Principles of Forest Childcare
Forest Childcare has 5 principles that those practicing Forest Childcare agree to:
- The Forest Childcare Provider takes the children to an outdoor environment normally once a week.
- Forest Childcare outings are made as safe as is reasonably possible by the childcare provider while encouraging children to learn to take their own risks.
- Forest Childcare outings are taken all year long, so children go outside whatever the weather.
- The Forest Childcare Provider offers a mixture of planned and child-led play activities to the children.
- The Forest Childcare Provider is first aid certified.
Why I Practice Forest Childcare
Whilst I would love to become a qualified Forest School practitioner and be able to work in a Forest School this just isn’t feasible for me at the moment. There’s the time and cost involved as well as the fact I already have my own childminding business which is a full time job. Joining the Forest Childcare Association allows me to continue running my childminding business from home whilst taking the Tots on regular outings to explore the great outdoors and know that I’m committing to providing an outstanding outdoor experience for them.
I’ve never been one to shy away from getting them outside even if weather isn’t desirable. We love getting wrapped up in winter woolies or getting our waterproofs on and going exploring
It can often be more of a challenge especially when caring for non-walkers and not having access to a car but with a little planning the Little Tots throughly enjoy their outdoor adventures and what little one doesn’t sleep well after lots of fresh air and running about!
How to become a member of the Forest Childcare Association
Membership costs £15 and is a lifetime membership so you don’t need to renew. When you buy the membership pack you will receive:
- An Introduction to Forest Childcare booklet
- 50 Crafts and Activities for Forest Childcare
- Business Tools for Forest Childcare
For more information visit the Forest Childcare Association where you can commit to practice Forest Childcare and sign up to the membership and don’t forget to follow them on Facebook.
Are you already a member? Thinking about becoming a member? Let me know I would love to see what you’ve been getting up to with the little ones on your outdoor adventures.