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Should I be worried about my child being involved in 'risk taking' at Forest School?

Although the term 'risk taking' can seem an unknown and nerve-racking                                                         concept for parents the Forest school   approach manages this by encouraging children to take responsibility for their environment and considering what is safe or not safe around them.

Children at Forest school are continually supported by adults and the environment is always safety swept before children even began Forest school sessions. Risks are minimised and those which the children identify, will almost always, have already been identified by an adult, and are likely to be of very low impact such as holly leaves or a small animal hole.

The Forest school approach encourages your child to risk manage their own learning by becoming familiar with the safety aspects of woodland learning. Your child is likely to walk around the boundaries of their Forest site and recognise what they must be careful of and not touch.

Children are also taught the Forest school rules, whereby they must stay within the boundaries, not pick anything or put anything in their mouths and look after their Forest school environment. Children learn to discuss different weather conditions and how this can affect the Forest at different times of year. For example, in winter time paths may become icy, or there maybe new animal holes in the Forest that they need to be careful of when exploring. Surprisingly, your child will probably be very good at assessing risks and danger and will be quick to point out areas of risk within their environment. Children quickly learn to assess risks and share these with others in the group. Children are encouraged to reflect and consider what is safe to do for example, which trees are safe to climb and how high would be safe to explore. Children are encouraged to take manageable risks with supportive adults nearby who encourage children to assess risks. This develops self-confidence as children share important information about their Forest School with others. They recognise changes in the environment and become more aware of how to manage risks. Forest school fosters a sense of responsibility and children feel part of managing their learning. 

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