The Forest Childcare Association is a best practice initiative for childcare providers who want to demonstrate their commitment to taking small children outdoors on a regular basis. By making a commitment to regular outdoor outings you can make a discernible difference to your children AND your business. When you join you will receive a Forest Childcare Starter Pack containing training information as well as business tools, a certificate to display and 50 Crafts and Activities to get you started.
A Passion to Be Outstanding
Forest Childcare is about much more than just filling vacancies and impressing parents. It is about feeling that at the end of the day you are offering children the very best childcare available. By offering a Forest Childcare experience for the children you care for, you are doing far more than the bare minimum of care, you are providing those children with outstanding outdoor experiences that they will carry forwards into the rest of their lives.
The importance of outdoor learning is recognised by the EYFS in terms of the positive impact it can have on children’s well-being and development.
Forest Childcare Association Membership is a one-time purchase; you don’t need to renew your membership. Once you buy the pack you are a member for life.
Forest Childcare can help to:
• Teach children to appreciate trees, fields, ponds and woods by spending time in the natural environment
• Improve emotional and physical wellbeing of children and the adults who look after them
• Improve children’s concentration, perseverance, cooperation and motivation skills
• Help children to stay fit and counter obesity because children move around naturally outdoors while they play
• Let off steam
• Provide opportunities for developing harmonious relationships with others, through negotiation, taking turns and cooperation
• Improve physical skills gained from opportunities to run and balance
• Build knowledge and understanding of the world
• Provide rich opportunities for imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness
What is included in the membership pack?
1) About Forest Childcare Training Guide:
· Information about the benefits of the outdoors to children.
· Links to the EYFS Learning and Development areas,
· The 5 Principles of Forest Childcare
· Thoughts on practicalities, safety concerns and risk assessments associated with outdoor outings.
2) 50 Crafts and Activities for Forest Childcare
50 crafts and activities with outdoor themes for use with 2-5 year old children. The craft activities all have templates and instructions and are adaptable to younger children or to older ones.
All the projects have outdoor themes including
· flowers and trees,
· birds, wildlife,
· mini beasts
· Earth Day
The pack also includes certificates that you can award children when they reach bronze, silver gold levels of achievements in Forest Childcare.
3) Business Tools for Forest Childcare – tips, tools, templates, and permission forms to help you brand and advertise your setting as a Forest Childcare Association member.
4) Forest Childcare Logo and special certificate for you to display at your setting, on your documents and on your website or social media accounts.
What is the difference between Forest School and the Forest Childcare Association?
The Forest Childcare Association is a best practice initiative for childcare providers who want to demonstrate their commitment to taking small children outdoors on a regular basis. It is up to the childcare provider to train themselves, self-certify and agree to uphold the five principles at their childcare setting. It should not be confused with a Forest School accreditation which involves training over a period of time and assessment by an external body.
‘I joined the Forest Childcare Association about three years ago and am really enjoying all the outdoor experiences with my little ones. It keeps me inspired and enthusiastic after over 20 years working in childcare!’ Katherine
‘Love our adventures Forest Childcare Association trips. It's one of the best things I have joined in all my years childminding.’ Vicky
‘Being a member has brought an abundance of ideas and activities I can do with the children when outdoors. I love the resources you have sent that I now use in my setting. I am far more conscious about how we spend our time outdoors and the children gain so much from our adventures.’ Zoe
‘I am loving the Forest Childcare info. Lots of ideas to support the outings I already do. Daft thing I have found is that I already do a lot of it but give it a proper name & certificate and suddenly it has seemed to legitimise what I do in the eyes of a couple of my parents!’ Thanks, Pamela
‘I've had two families change their mind and reverted back to me from pre-school, purely due to forest outings. I would encourage childminders to join, take lots of photos to show parents. It's something different and best done in small groups of all ages.’ Karen
‘I want to say how brilliant your "50 Crafts and Activities for Forest Childcare" is. I enjoy arts and crafts and have read several books, but I am especially pleased with your craft book; all the activities are pitched at a good level (not too easy, not too hard), and the links across different areas of learning are great.’ Natasha
‘Although all the parents I work with and those that come for potential childcare know that I do these types of activities, it never occurred to me to advertise myself as “offering Forest Childcare” before. Thank you so much. Tonight I plan on writing down lots of ideas to display the great pictures I have of the children while we are in the woods.’ Kay
‘I love the outdoors and nature, so the Forest Childcare pack was perfect for my setting. It has been well received by the parents and all the children and has inspired us to go on lots of woodland walks, make dens, hunt for mini beast, pond dipping and climbing trees. I have made good use of most of the wonderful templates for creative craft activities, that all go towards essential planning for the children.’ Rachel
‘The Forest Childcare idea was particularly well received by all my parent's. I have always been keen on outdoor activity and your idea gave me the chance to offer structure that parents and the children have really taken on board. We have produced some lovely displays with photos and information about our adventures in forests, parks and woods.’ Gaynor
‘The materials also help to demonstrate to parents how important outdoor learning is for their child and sharing the activities with them supports my working in partnership with them. They also encourage parents to get out and about with their children.’ Jessica
‘Thank you so much for this amazing pack! As a childminder who already embraces the values & principals of 'Forest Childcare' it's great to have found a way to reinforce my practice & communicate this to parents. I love the resources you've included in the pack & I will be recommending the Forest Childcare Association to other childminders and professionals.’ Louise