Bristol CC Outdoor Education Centre situated in the village of Parkend in The Forest of Dean

Friday 23 March 2012

Forest Tots

For the past seven months we have been hosting an outdoor based Parent and Toddler Group in the Centre garden on Friday afternoons between 12:30 and 14:30. The group call themself Forest Tots and they base themselves completely outdoors whatever the weather. They seem to be lucky and it's only rained once when they have been here!

Their philosophy fits very comfortably with ours and is based around an ethos of allowing children to explore nature and experience the outdoors. They usually have one structured activity such as making mud monsters etc. but then allow the children to direct their own play as much as possible. The stream running into our pond always seems to be a popular draw and provides great natural waterplay. They've got waterproofs they can lend out and recommend a full change of clothing but believe getting wet is sometimes all part of the experience.

From a modest start with three families they have already expanded rapidly with up to 14 families attending at a time. The group is registered with PATA (Parent and Toddler Association) and is a 'flagship' group for the work they do outdoors. There are exciting potential plans for the future including the hope that we may be able to match fund them to have a Roundhouse Shelter built in the Centre Grounds that both our groups can use.

There's a link to the Forest Tots website here and on the right hand side where you can find out more about what they do if you're interested.

As most of our residential groups leave after lunch at about 13:30 we've sometimes been able to get involved as well. The above picture shows Dom extending his 'teaching range' to work with one year olds!

We think 'Forest Tots' are doing fantastic work and are pleased to be able to work in partnership with them and wish them every success in the future.

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