Wildlings Forest School aims to be as transparent as we possibly can. If you can’t find the answer to your question, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
What is Forest School?
Forest School is an inspirational educational philosophy that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve success and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a wild space or natural environment. Forest School is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education (www.forestschoolassociation.org).
Are you a school?
Whilst the word 'school' is part of our name, we are NOT a school. We are an outdoor activity provider that follows the Forest School educational philosophy, which is explained above.
What is the difference between Wildlings Forest School and other learning programs?
Wildlings Forest School takes place predominantly outdoors, is experiential, child-led and largely unstructured. We want our children to be able to learn in a natural environment which provides them with risks, challenges and a love and respect for the environment. Because of this, children spend their entire time outdoors at our Forest School driving their own learning through the exploration of the natural environment. We aim to raise a community of empathetic, kind, global minded, environmental stewards. We do not follow the National Curriculum and are not out to tick curriculum boxes (though we of course do this incidentally every single day). We see parents as the child's first and best teacher and nature as the the third teacher and feel that an environment in which they are surrounded by their family and community, is the environment most conducive to learning.
Wildlings Forest School is not registered as an Education Provider by the Department of Education or ACECQA. We aim to be an Activity Provider and are working closely with DETE and ECIS to ensure we stay within the bounds of National Education Laws.
What is the difference between your Forest Kindy/Adventurers program and Playgroup?
Playgroup is a two hour session, run by a passionate parent, that has a heavy focus on free play, simple craft, songs and stories. Forest Kindy/Adventurers day (although catering to a similar age group) is run by qualified Forest School Leader/s and teach children forest school skills such as how to safely use hand tools (including bow/hand saws, pen knives, hand drills, wood planes, hammers etc), lighting and cooking over a camp fire, raft building, cubby making and other specialist skills and 'riskier' activities. Playgroup is held at different locations each week whilst our other programs are generally held in the same location (with the odd excursion to a different environment).
What happens if it's raining?
Then we get to jump in puddles! We go by the old Norwegian saying, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing”. So if it’s raining, dress your child appropriately, with a rain jacket, gumboots, warm socks and weatherproof pants and send a spare set of warm clothes. It is a great chance for your child to explore and discover how our land changes in all seasons and our children quite often say that wet days are the best days!
What is the ratio of adult:students?
Ratios depend on the program and the activity.
Wildlings Holiday Programs (school age): 1 Forest School Leader to every 15 children, with a minimum of 2 leaders on site at all times.
Wildlings Kindy and Forest School: Wednesday home schooling programs run during term time are not day care centre/drop-off child minding programs. We are simply two mums who have organised a venue and forest space for families to come together in nature and we run this program with our own children on site. Under National Law, we do not, and cannot, take on the responsibility of providing care for children other than our own.
As outlined in regulation 5(2) of the National Regulations, care must be, "Primarily provided or shared by parents or family members of the children and a parent or family member must be readily available for the period that the child is educated and cared for and retain responsibility for the children."
As such, at this stage parents must be present in the sessions with their children of preschool and school age. With parents on-site, our ratio is able to go up to 1 Forest School Leader to 30 children with a minimum of 2 Forest School Leaders on site at all times.
Wildlings School Programs ratios are dependent on whether we are running on Education Queensland, Private School or off campus sites, the age of the children and what activities we are running but are generally 1 Forest School Leader to 30 children with a minimum of 2 Forest School Leaders on site at all times.
Can I drop my child off at your program?
Wildlings Holiday Program (school age) - Yes
Wildlings Kindy (Wednesday home-school program) - No
Wildlings Ocean & Earth Tribe - (sporadic school aged workshops) - No
School Programs - Yes
Wildlings Holiday Program (school age) is a drop-off program run by Forest School Leaders (we do not bring our own children to these programs).
The Wildlings Kindy and Forest School: Wednesday home schooling program is not a child care centre/drop-off child minding program. We are simply two mums who have organised a venue, forest space and facilitators to run regular workshops for families and we run this program with and for our own children on site. We therefore do not, and legally cannot, take on the responsibility of looking after other children (and our own). As such, at this stage parents must be present in the sessions with their child/ren aged 6 years and under.
Wildlings School Programs are run on Education Queensland and Private school sites as part of the normal school year and curriculum so are naturally drop-off programs.
Do you have insurance? What does it include?
Wildlings Forest School is insured under leisure liability coverage by Aon Risk Solutions. Part of your weekly fee goes towards personal accident insurance for your child. Our insurance policy is very comprehensive and covers $20 million public liability, professional indemnity and outdoor play. No child will be accepted into the program until this condition has been met.
Why do I have to pay for the entire term program in advance?
Wildlings Forest School is run by two mothers who have additional jobs and home school their own children. Paying for the program in advance minimises administration time, processing fees and invoices, ensuring we get to spend more time with our own children and more time creating and running excellent programs. You can choose to pay and attend any of our weekly programs casually if you would prefer. We hope you understand.
Why do you cost 'so much'?
We are an Activity Provider, not an Education or Care Provider and therefore we do not qualify for a childcare rebate. We are not owned by a big corporation that can back us, buy in bulk and distribute profit and loss amongst many franchisees. We are not a non-profit organisation so do not have access to grants. We are a small business that needs to pay our own way. Our insurance premiums are higher than most businesses due to the perceived higher risk by insurance companies of working outdoors with children and we need more staff on the ground than most businesses due to required ratios. We hire an excellent space and we purchase ethical, sustainable, local resources wherever we can. We run an excellent, unique program and we are passionate about the benefits of Forest Schooling and about taking education outdoors. We hope you understand.