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A huge thank you for all of the 130 registrants and 61 attendees for this Wednesday Webinar. Apart from Nic, these webinars are completely run by volunteers, many of whom are happier in the woods, and more skilled with mud pies than silicon chips. The FSA would like to offer a particularly big thank you for all our volunteers, who fly about in the background to bring these webinars to you, and to Hannah for stepping up and putting herself in the spotlight at very short notice.

As promised here is the summary of the Webinar session and the link so you can go and watch it for yourselves (below).  Because this is a discussion style webinar much of the really important stuff occurred in the chat rooms, so a big thank you to all our participants.

This is only our second webinar and we are on a very steep learning curve. It is amazing that just four weeks ago, this Covid19 support idea was brought forward to support our members and the wider Forest school community at a difficult time. Please give us some feedback on the follow-up questionnaire. Good or bad we will look forward to learning from both.  These are podcasts to support you, please feel free to make suggestions as to what you would like to see in them and we will try and make your suggestions a reality.

Webinar Summary

Topic: How can we support our Forest School learners, whilst we are unable to see them face to face during lock-down?

Webinar Style: ‘Around the Hearth’ – Discussion & Sharing

Total Number Registered: 130

Total Number attended: averaged 55-57 for core hour (8-9 pm), up to 61 max

Please see the webinar recording

Topic: Wednesday Webinar
Date: Apr 15, 2020 07:29 PM London

***Meeting Recording***

Access Password: l9#C3oZ6

Webinar Summary

  1. Welcome from Chairperson (Froo), Overview of session, Participants sharing springtime gratitudes in the chat bar
  2. Housekeeping, technology logistics & online etiquette
  3. Update from the FSA, addressing some questions from the last webinar:


  • Feedback from 1st webinar showed that people were interested in different things from these webinars – some wanted the opportunity to chat, share and network with likeminded practitioners & others wanted to listen to topic-based talks from specialists. With that in mind we plan to have 2 different styles of webinar:
    • Around the Hearth’ – Discussion & Sharing, participatory style.
    • ‘In the Thicket’ – Information giving talks on certain topics from ‘experts’, non-participatory but opportunities for questions.
  • FSA Conference in Oxfordshire (due to be Oct 2020) has been postponed till 2021
  • After the many offers of sharing and signposting of the 1st webinar we are looking into the best medium to facilitate an online platform for people to share and support each other.


  1. Intro to this webinar’s topic – Interview with Hannah Corps, Forest School Leader at Fenhurst Primary School, West Sussex.
  • Hannah wanted to maintain a connection with her FS groups whilst in lockdown, so she has created a series of videos for her learners – designed to be an invitation for them to get outside and use natural materials.
  • Sharing some technical tips:
    • Making them on a separate youtube channel first (Backyard Forest School) and then embedding them into the school website or share them through other media seemed to be the easiest way to do them
    • Disabling comment function on youtube removes the risk of any inappropriate comments being seen by children
    • All filmed in one take on an i-phone, so does not require expensive kit
    • All clips kept short – under 3 mins
  • Discussed reputational of FS being diluted – highlighted that it was about maintaining a relationship with the learners, rather than the activities. That we’re not in a normal situation and being able to adapt to encourage learners to go outside in any way, or handle natural items, or listen outside the door to sounds is still important. Being aware that not all learners have gardens to play in at this time, so to consider content to be inclusive.


  1. Dispersed into chatrooms for 20mins. Discussing – How can you in your setting keep your connection to your learners & encourage them to play the FS way during lock-down?


  1. Chatroom groups fed back their discussions. Collated Feedback:

Chatroom 1:

  • Recognised there may be tension – how to keep things child-led?
  • What if children don’t have a garden?
  • Lots of different ways to connect
  • Opportunity to educate parents more about FS


Chatroom 2:

  • Varying degrees of experience of using technology – which affects the end result and amount of interaction
  • If can’t access the children, then reaching out to parents/caregivers the next best thing
  • Nature connection challenges
  • Virtual not as good as ‘real’ thing but better than nothing


Chatroom 3:

  • How do we stay connected to others if don’t have a group
  • Tricky at the start as had to think of own survival to start with
  • Lots of stuff out there…so tricky with lack of time. Tricky as can’t replicate forest school in back garden.  Putting hopeful messages on social media.   Feel we do need to put something special out there that is us.
  • Where still working are on the schools grounds
  • Where training and supporting schools looking at online support for teachers
  • Worth piggy-backing on school remote platforms such as google platforms
  • Videos of the site and what is going on while the children are not of you working on the site
  • Night vision camera eg hole on Jude Vintons site (Herts) who’s made it and all sorts of visitors being busy in FS space. Filming through the day as well, seeing flowers coming up.  Browning defender trail webcam..well worth it.  As schools are closed can get around GDPR.
  • Sandra Hill ‘the world outside’ using inshot to make videos…eg getting son to light a fire and done on each day would have been doing something and what they would have. Own Youtube channel the world outside.

Chatroom 4:

  • Talked about Furlough and the cut off feeling and how sad that is making us.
  • Planting seeds for the children to share later this year when lock-down is lifted.
  • Does the quality of online video content matter? Not everyone is so confident
  • Weekly posts filmed and shared via Facebook
  • Encourage listening skills, a good game to play
  • Bird ID
  • Examples of what you can do makes more sense.
  • Film on-site, pointing out features to look for – share a map
  • Don’t want to send too much to families, lots of good content online already – don’t want to overwhelm them.


Chatroom 5:

  • Discussed some way that multiple groups could contribute to something like a scrapbook eg Tapestry software – could groups be part of a bigger project of FS’s connecting?
  • Harder potentially for those with SEN
  • Social media flooded with ideas – overwhelm


Chatroom 6:

  • Natasha – Notes from last session – online scrapbook where children are collecting ideas – children posting their ideas and responses – find something really cool that made you wonder – we wonder if there is an app that would have this function – keen to find a way of all contributing
  • Tom– making videos to share via Facebook and YouTube for our groups – finding the slight tweaks from today’s interview with Hannah – finding ways to make the video less instructive – more open-ended
  • Jo – aware that social media was flooded with material – kept it as open-ended and simple as possible – parents uploading home learning to Tapestry – Early Years Online Learning Journal part of the school recording of learning – ideas like den building – characteristics of effective learning
  • Cathy keeping it the Forest School way – element of child-led and questions, wondering being kept alive – Google Classroom is a way to get everyone together that is safe with regard to safeguarding – does give the option for feedback
  • Emily– working with children in a special needs school – complex needs – parents facing different issues – hard to maintain contact


  1. Conclusion & summary – thanks to all those who contributed & to Hannah for speaking today.


OPTIONAL HALF HOUR (9 – 9.30 pm)

Attendees who wished to remain had 2 choices:

  1. To continue discussing some of the issues that came out of the chatrooms
  2. To join a sharing circle, community building, uplifting session

Participants joined relevant room


Sharing Circle – 27 people participated

  • Various people shared things:
  • Story of FS leader, Rachel Summers, chalking the names of the trees on the pavement – was picked up on ITV news
  • Grateful for online connection – hope to continue this joined-up feeling after lockdown
  • With more time, have had opportunities to do things wouldn’t normally do such as foraging and experimenting with natural dyes
  • Opportunities to connect internationally with others all over the world through online mediums
  • Some local FS groups are also doing online things for their local members to keep in touch and support each other
  • Slowing down allows us to notice the seasonal changes
  • Lots of love for foraging and foraging stories – particularly for nettles, hawthorn, Dandelions and Cleavers. Yum!
  • Recent podcast on EatWeeds talking about urban foraging –



Continued Discussions – 9 people participated

  • Discussions included: How some learners with SEN (particularly sensory issues) may find being indoors particularly difficult – how to support them better?
  • Some schools allowing SEN learners to come into the FS area (accompanied)


  1. Finished with everyone (36 people) coming together and Jon led a song from Sam Lee (Fire Choir)


“Happiness is here and now

I have lost my worries

Nowhere to be, nothing to do

Never in a hurry”

Meeting ended 9.38 pm

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