Health and wellbeing

Funding level: Up to £1,000

Description

Hemblington Pre-School has been established for over 40 years and is a highly regarded educational asset in the local community. It is proud to have achieved a “Good” rating in its last Ofsted inspection (Feb 2018). It provides pre-school facilities for children age range 2½ to 5 years, based in Heathlands Community Centre, Blofield Heath and serving children from several village communities. The woodland area is located across the playing field with no roads or other hazards for the children to cross. The site is accessible to all (within the constraints of any natural woodland area).
The pre-school (Reg. charity no.1042639) is managed by an elected voluntary committee which includes parents and representatives from school staff. There are currently 30 children on roll and this number is growing, helped by our weekly Forest School sessions. There are no other Forest Schools in the immediate vicinity.

PROPOSAL
We are seeking funding of £1000 to buy in the continued services of a Level 3 Forest School Practitioner until July 2019. We have a Level 1 Forest school staff member trained but due to staffing capacity did not have the opportunity to progress to Level 3. We have a 2018/19 Business Plan in place which supports this proposal. We consequently have bought in the services of an external Level 3 FS practitioner until in a position to this. The children are able to get the immediate benefit of Forest School sessions which we are desperate to continue due to the fantastic impact it has had.
The current cohort of children will lose this much loved opportunity to experience being outdoors unless we continue to employ a Level 3 FS practitioner (due to insurance specifications).
We have already invested heavily - in site preparation and maintenance, replanting new trees from The Woodland Trust, tree safety for the whole woodland, equipment and previous staff training so stand to lose a valuable asset.

We know Forest Schools contribute greatly to health and well-being. They offer a structured, healthy and ecological approach to outdoor learning which is child-led and involves repeated experiences in a wooded environment. Forest Schools are now well established throughout the UK. They complement well the education opportunities provided in the traditional pre-school environment, developing:
• practical skills (for example bush-craft, shelter and den building)
• understanding of safety outdoors
• teamwork
• self-confidence
• physical strength and agility
More details are available at http://www.forestschoolassociation.org.

THE VISION
Having a Forest School Leader has been inspirational. Everybody has benefitted and the staff are better placed to support the children. We have seen the childrens’ confidence soar outdoors where indoors they may have been reserved, we have children who relish the opportunity to move freely, we have children whose communication and language has developed enormously. Children who have struggled emotionally have blossomed. We paint, count with sticks, build, hunt for mini beasts, create art, sing, climb and find joy in the outdoors.

We also plan to host an Open Day for parents and carers to see the potential and benefits for themselves, with the aim of supporting what they already do in their home and family environment. There would also be opportunities for family events at which parents and siblings can become involved with the Forest School activities.

Offering this has increased occupancy and contributed to the sustainability of the group overall which is vital as other groups in locality have closed.

Our proposal supports our ethos - “To inspire curiosity, independence and a life-long love of learning”.

FUNDING REQUIREMENT
The costs, for which we are seeking this funding, are as follows:
* Level 3 Practitioner – (bought in services) – 16 weeks @£60 per session = £960
* £40 to go towards providing activities for the children such as clay, paint etc.

Project Video

Hemblington Pre-School

Moment of Pride

Our ethos is "To inspire curiosity, independence and a life-long love of learning." Supportive parents past, present, staff and the local community have enabled the children at Forest School to be inspired, be curious, be themselves. Qualified staff can give future generations this chance too.

Location: Blofield Heath