Frequently Asked Questions

What is your experience with special educational needs (SEN)?

I have five years experience as a Teacher / Educator working with children with diverse needs and abilities in an inclusive mainstream setting. I have worked closely with children who have diagnoses and other identified needs including ASD, PDA, ADHD, Social Emotional and Mental Health, Behavioural Emotional and Social Development, Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Global Development Delay and Hearing Impairment. Many of these children have an EHCP but not all. My approach is to: 

My relational and inclusive approach was recognised by school leadership and in 2020 I became the school Inclusion and DIversity Lead, alongside Teaching. I did this for two years before leaving mainstream school and setting up Little Forest. At Little Forest, I find that children who struggle in a mainstream setting, feel safe, calm and can flourish in this small and nurturing setting. 

Before teaching, I represented families who have children with profound and multiple learning difficulties and who use respite or short break services. I consulted with these families and gave them a platform to have their voices heard by local authority commissioners. I worked for a large local authority on the Equality Act, 2010, when it was brought into law. Finally, I am trained as a sailing instructor for Langstone Sailability and I volunteered with them as a helm taking crews of children and young people of all abilities out to sail in Langstone Harbour. 

What is a typical day like?

We have a very open and flexible structure for each day. Some structure gives children a sense of safety whilst flexibility allows for shared planning, negotiation and real time adaptive planning (great life skills) in order for learning to emerge organically. 

Morning sessions are called Explore and Create. They start with circle time where we share stories, connect with each other and plan our day together. Then we have book club time where we all bring, share and enjoy books together. I bring a book which is linked to our seasonal theme and the children choose books from our extensive collection or bring one from home. There is freedom and flexibility to read independently, share reading, read aloud or listen to others reading. We simply love books and think that reading is infectious. After book club, we have time to relax, play and I provide a snack. Then we have a creative session inspired by the books that we have been reading. The children have opportunities to create art, crafts, stories, poetry, songs, scripts, theatre productions or any other creative way of bringing their reading and imaginations to life.  

We have an hour for lunch and children bring packed lunches. We all eat together. 

Afternoon sessions are called Think and Investigate. During the afternoons we use a mix of enquiry and project based learning. Enquiry based sessions start with a quest card containing questions which can be explored mathematically, scientifically or philosophically - all linked to our seasonal theme. The children work together to explore and investigate each question and then report back their findings. I am there as a facilitator and guide. Project based sessions start with a problem or challenge to be solved and work towards an open ended outcome like making a meal to share. Opportunities for developing mathematical, scientific and philosophical concepts and understanding are woven in throughout. 

On a day to day basis, we are highly adaptive to allow space for emergent learning and organic growth. Sometimes we learn indoors, sometimes we take our learning outside. 

Do you run all year round? All weathers?

Monday and Thursday sessions run all year round, all weathers. Our term dates are on the booking page of our website. It is the same for Friday Forest Play except we may have to cancel in the rare event that high winds, lightening or very heavy rains are forecast. 

Why do you have four terms?

We have winter, spring, summer and autumn terms so that our learning can flow in sync with the seasons. Winter is a time for reflection, looking in to ourselves and out to our place in the universe. We zoom out to understand that Earth is our home and we think about our place in time and space. Spring is a time of growth. We zoom in to look at ourselves and we plant seeds both physically and metaphorically for the growth of each child's wishes. Summer is a productive and creative time when we look more closely at our relationship with nature using the ideas of circles and reciprocity. Autumn is a time of harvesting and sharing the benefits of our learning. We encourage children to think more deeply about how they can share their learning with their community and use it to help make the world a happier place. Within this natural cycle, the children help to plan what the next term is going to look like so we only tend to plan one term ahead at a time.