Frequently Asked Questions
Below are common questions from parents, please have a read through these before you contact us with a query as the answer may be below.
IS THERE A MINIMUM ATTENDANCE YOU REQUIRE?
In order to give children the best learning opportunities and the quickest settling in process we ask for a minimum of two days attendance per week.
can I visit a nursery?
Before joining Little Forest Folk, we encourage all parents to come and visit us. We announce site tours when they become available on our newsletter and we will send you details of our site tours as we announce them.
Join our newsletter here
How do waiting lists work?
Our waiting lists operate on a first-come, first-served basis with places allocated depending on the children who are leaving and the days requested and available. We need to ensure that we have the correct number of two, three and four-year-olds so that we can plan our days effectively, including ensuring we have enough room for children who require naps.
when do places become available?
We generally know when children will be moving on to big school and will be able to begin our main offer of places over the summer holidays. Our main intakes in therefore in September, January and April. From time to time places do open up mid-term when, for example, children move away, and in these situations we will offer a place to the next suitable child on the waiting list.
how do government funded child places work?
Your child is able to access 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year from the term after their third birthday. Little Forest Folk offer this funding applied across the school terms or stretched to cover a longer period of the year. For more details on each individual borough and how you sign up please check the fees pages for each location:
HOW DO free child PLACES WORK?
Little Forest Folk offer a limited number of completely free places for two, three and four year old children who meet certain eligibility criteria.
The child can continue to access these places following their third birthday. We provide a maximum of two sessional or full days per week per child, as long as Little Forest Folk are the only recipient of the child’s free entitlement hours funded by the Government. These places are provided on a first come first served basis.
If you have further questions or would like to obtain a parent funding form then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you do when it rains and is cold?
Play!! Remaining warm and dry is the most important element to create happiness and creative play regardless of the weather. Whilst the woods themselves afford shelter, we also have large, lightweight tarps that we rig up to provide wind-breaks and extra protection when we don’t want to let a sudden downpour disrupt our games. We find that as long as children have good outdoor clothing, are out of any biting wind and that their hands are warm, they are happy to play outdoors regardless of the weather.
We have a fire available at snack time on cold days, and will often have a hot drink. We are also fortunate to have skilled educators who are quickly able to put up cosy shelters, especially for the wettest and coldest conditions. If nurseries and primary schools in Scandinavia can spend the majority of their time playing in the woods in their challenging climate, we are sure we can manage it in South West London!
HOW DOES THE WATERPROOF SYSTEM WORK?
We will provide you with a set of Didrikson’s waterproofs as part of your registration fee. You will be required to ensure your child is dressed in these waterproofs every day they are in attendance to follow our safeguarding procedure. These waterproofs are yours to keep so free to use on weekends, holidays etc in addition to your time at Little Forest Folk. When your child outgrows their waterproofs we will supply the next size up for an additional charge of £35.00. If you wish to purchase more than one set of waterproofs in the same size to avoid having to wash so often, these are available from us at £35.00 or of course you are welcome to speak to other parents and use any sets which have been outgrown.
What about severe storms?
Our aim is to be outdoors in rain, wind, or shine but in severe storms, where safety could be compromised, we will return to or remain in our indoor facility for the day and use the outdoor space there to ensure we are still getting some fresh air! However If the weather is assessed as being dangerous, or Forest School qualified practitioners will make a decision and return back to the Scout Hut (Wimbledon), Picolo Play Centre (Chiswick) or Cuckoo Hibou (Fulham) which we are able to use in such situations.
What happens in case of an accident?
Children who are used to playing outdoors are far less likely to injure themselves. They have developed a natural risk assessment process and are more stable and understanding of their capabilities than children who do not often spend time in such an environment.
We do however have an evacuation plan (as all nurseries do) for emergencies or incidents. In case of an accident a first aider will attend to your child whilst another member of staff will go to meet medical staff if necessary to bring them to the site. Alternatively, for less serious situations, we will take your child back to our drop-off facility and treat them there.
What about toileting?
We have a specified areas in the woods where we erect a special toilet tent to offer shelter and privacy for toileting. Children not used to toileting outside quickly adapt and staff are on hand to assist as needed. We provide warm water and soap for hand washing after toileting and before snack-time.
For children still in nappies, we have a special nappy changing areas within the toilet tents and at the indoor locations. We will provide nappies and fragrance free wet wipes, unless you have a particular brand you would like your children to use, in which case please feel free to provide. We take all of our nappies out of the forest with us and dispose of them appropriately.
For those children who are still sleeping during the day, we provide cosy tents for sleep time. All that fresh air usually encourages great sleeps!
FOR DROP-OFF AND PICKUP IS THERE ANY PARKING AVAILABLE?
The area near Picolo is a densely populated residential area. We would recommend wherever possible that you take public transport or walk to the building. There is some parking available outside the centre but this is suitable for pickup and drop off only and could not be used for all day parking.
Parking is very difficult near Parson's Green but metered parking is available within a ten minute walk. For dropoffs at Fulham Palace Gardens there is metered parking on Bishop's Avenue, SW6 and it's usually quite easy to find a space here!
There is some parking available directly outside the 19th Wimbledon Scout Hut, or in the nearby streets. Please be considerate of the neighbours in this residential area.
How will my children be transported to the forest site?
Little Forest Folk has safe and robust Ford Transit minibuses, specially fitted with safe car seats. Children are be placed in these age and weight appropriate car seats and securely strapped in. They are transported to the forest site with a ratio of 1 member of staff for every four children, plus the driver. The driver possesses a full clean driving licence and an enhanced DBS check.
WHY DON’T YOU SEPARATE THE CHILDREN BY AGE GROUPS LIKE OTHER NURSERIES
We believe that offering two to five year olds the opportunity to play together rather than separating them into different age groups and ‘rooms’ offers the best opportunities for all age ranges.
Opportunity to nurture
When we ask a four year old to be tolerant of a two year old’s first fumbling efforts to put on his or her jacket, we are teaching them the beginnings of parent education. Our children need real contexts in which their dispositions to be nurturing can be manifested and strengthened. Furthermore, the young children who are encouraged, comforted and nurtured by older children will be able to emulate their older classmates when they themselves become the older ones in a group. Children need opportunities not only to observe and imitate a wide range of competencies, but also to find companions among their peers who match, complement, or supplement their interests in different ways.
Ways of learning
Single-age groups seem to create enormous normative pressures on the children and the teacher to expect all the children to possess the same knowledge and skills. There is a tendency in a homogeneous age group to penalize the children who fail to meet normative expectations. There is no evidence to show that a group of children who are all within a twelve-month age range can be expected to learn the same things, in the same way, on the same day, at the same time. The wide range of knowledge and skills that exists among children within a single-age group suggests that whole-group instruction, if overused, may not best serve children's learning.
On the other hand, the wider the age span in a group, the wider the range of behaviour and performance likely to be accepted and tolerated by not just the adults but the children themselves. In a mixed-age group, an adult is more likely to address differences, not only between children but within each individual child.
Research on social benefits indicates that children very early associate different expectations with different age groups. Experiments have shown that even a three-year-old, when shown pictures of older and younger children in hypothetical situations, will assign different kinds of behaviour to an older child than to a younger child. For instance, younger children assign to older children instructive, leadership, helpful, and sympathizing roles, whereas older children assign to younger children the need for help and instruction. Thus in the mixed-age group, younger children perceive the older ones as being able to contribute something, and the older children see the younger ones as in need of their contributions. These mutually reinforcing perceptions create a climate of expected cooperation beneficial to the children.
In a mixed-age group, younger children are capable of participating and contributing to far more complex activities than they could initiate if they were by themselves. Once the older ones set up the activity, the younger ones can participate, even if they could not have initiated it.
Research indicates that mixed-age groups can provide a therapeutic environment for children who are socially immature. Younger children will less quickly rebuff an older immature child than the child's same-age friends.
Why isn’t your outdoor area fenced? How is the safety of my child safeguarded?
Safeguarding is of paramount importance to our practitioners.
At Wimbledon we operate in a fully fenced paddock adjacent to the Common. At Fulham and Chiswick we offer a nomadic forest experience, primarily due to the limited exclusive green space on offer in the city. However, these spaces have the benefit of being unrestricted and so offer a wider diversity of play options and learning experiences to our children. To ensure safety, our staff work upon a strict ratio of one teacher to four children (as opposed to the standard nursery ratios of 1:8 or 1:13 for those settings employing highly qualified teachers as we do). In addition to this your waterproofs provided are brightly coloured and have defined colours per age. With one practitioner for every four children the children are always within immediate line of sight and proximity to a staff member, always within our boundary.
Further to this a key safeguarding practise is the games we regularly play with the children such as one-two-three where are you or one-two-three run to me, both of which encourage the children to through play and therefore without feeling trepidation to understand the importance of staying within our boundaries and family groupings.
How do you stop dog walkers and members of the public accessing your forest site?
In Wimbledon we have a fully fenced site within the nature reserve with clear signs advising members of the public that our site is closed to access from 9.30am-3.30pm Monday to Friday. This fenced area includes a gate which we will lock upon our entry to the site every morning. Your child may see members of the public and dog walkers on the short walk from the car park to our forest site but we have a high adult to child ratio exactly for this type of situation and can ensure your child is under observation at all times.
We have discussed our set up at Chiswick in great detail with Chiswick House & Gardens. We put signs up to show where the nursery is in operation on that particular day and dog walkers respect this space. Our staff are always on hand in the event that we may have a visit from an inquisitive dog and the children are taught to stay still and not cause any excitement.
Dogs must be kept on a leash at Fulham Palace Gardens and so are not running free near the children.
What do you feed my children?
We see a big part of our role in our children’s lives is to promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle. An essential element of this is providing nutritious, energy giving snacks and meals to the children. We change our menus seasonally to allow us to enjoy the best ingredients available to us. Our current menu is available on our website and most dietary requirements can be catered for.
What about holiday camps?
Holiday camps are run during the school holidays only and are available for enrolled nursery families for two to five-year-olds and for the general public from three to seven-year-olds. Priority booking is offered to nursery families then any remaining availability is offered to the public. We require a minimum booking of two days per week for holiday camps.
have any more questions?
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help.