As we approach the start of our first forest school session at Wild Child there is a lot of items on our checklists. Things that must get prepared or planned for. Things that must be checked off before we can begin our adventures. One such item is to ensure that the spaces we will be visiting are safe for our risky play. Safe, risky play? Yes. That's right. Safe, risky play. Although we are absolutely sure that we will engage in things that may result in skinned knees, slivers, prickles and cold toes - we are in no way looking to get hurt. One of the protocols of Forest School Canada is to perform risk assessments on potential forest school sites. This one thing we do to ensure that we are aware of potential risks and so we can properly plan to mitigate them. We cannot do this without putting our eyes on the places we will visit.
At present Wild Child Forest and Nature School has 2 sites that we will be using for our program. The first site is the Wild Child site, which hosts a log cabin for shelter when required and .5 acres of wild forest to play in, a fire pit and access to loads of supplies in easy reach. There are also other buildings here that will come into use as they are brought into good repair.
Our second site is located down the road about 1 block and is located on a public walking trail. There is no shelter here so we will plan our visits accordingly. It is riddled with trails and opportunities to adventure. There is also a secluded rocky beach with access to the cold waters of the Elbow river at the far end of the site . Each potential forest school site will be walked over and documented according to the risk assessment criteria. The hope is to visit the second site at least 3 times in our first forest school session and so these assessments must be completed before October arrives. Our second site will actually be home to several smaller sites that we will visit on a regular basis. At some point the participants in the Forest School Program will come to give these spaces names. For now, we just have pictures.