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Hillside Nursery and Forest School

our Forest SCHOOL Leader

Our Forest School leader is Kim O'Brien and she set up our Willow Forest School in 2012. Kim has a passion for Forest School and it's ethos and is enthusiastic about outdoor learning in all weathers! 


As part of her role as the Forest School leader, Kim always strives to ensure the following is adhered to: 


The right conditions for learning are created and are achieved by providing the children with a sense of security, a sense of identity or self-concept, a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose and a sense of personal achievement and competence. 


A Sense of Security: Kim will set realistic limits for the children and enforce rules and boundaries consistently, allowing freedom within them.  She will provide the children with the opportunity to develop a sense of responsibility and respect and will speak to and support the children in a positive manner.  


A Sense of Identity: Kim will provide feedback to the children, recognising their strengths and recognising all skills as valuable. She will demonstrate her acceptance of the children by showing warmth, fairness, reasoning, support and encouragement. This may be reference to physical achievements or to the ways in which the children have tackled a personal challenge. Kim will support children in recognising personal strengths and in areas where they feel they need further input and guidance. 


A Sense of Belonging: Kim will explore and develop the roles and responsibilities of group membership and encourage the children to accept and include others. 


A Sense of Purpose: Kim will share expectations with the children and adults present at each session. She will build the children’s confidence through the achievable tasks and opportunities provided, demonstrating a sense of trust and will support children in setting goals for themselves and their group. 


A Sense of Personal Achievement and Competence: Kim will support children in making their own choices and decisions, recognizing and rewarding effort and personal achievements.  


As well as the above, Kim will plan a program of small manageable tasks and activities that promote success and achievement.  These will cater for different learning styles and will include instructions which will be given verbally, visually and with practical demonstrations. 


These programs are delivered through play, with a hands-on approach to learning, encouraging a higher level of involvement and well-being. They are flexible and allow the children or circumstance to lead the way.