The lockdown situation may provide us with an ideal opportunity to review our Forest School Handbooks. A general review is useful before amending our policies and risk assessments in response to Coronavirus including:
· changes to risk assessments, routines, and standard operating procedures in the post lockdown period.
· changes in good practice
· changes in legislation.
It would be useful to specifically reflect on developing the policies and practice around emotional intelligence. It is worth revisiting behaviour policies: post lockdown we will need, more than ever, to be trauma aware. It would be useful to re-enforce all adults’ understanding of the importance of all participants at Forest School speaking and behaving in ways that communicate respect and unconditional positive regard. Adults will need to speak calmly, use ‘I notice…I feel…I saw…’ statements, offering support rather than judgement. It will be important to set out clearly how Forest School will be a place of respect and kindness.
Having all the appropriate paperwork in place demonstrates that the practitioner is well-prepared and considering good practice. It also helps deal with the inevitable stress from returning to sessions post lockdown. The Handbook can then be used as a basis of discussions with other staff and helpers at Forest School, and with managers, parents and carers, and client-group leaders. It is always useful to have a physical reference point for discussions.
As you are aware the Covid-19 situation changes very quickly. We endeavour to update FSA statements as soon as practicable but please be aware that this is a live document not a definitive statement.
While advice from the Government is changing with circumstances it is easier to modify a document than start from new. A document ‘correct at the time’ of writing aids reflection on your immediate situation.
Please join our LinkedIn group FSA Sparks for the Forest School community if you would like to discuss Coronavirus and returning to school.