It is on days such as this, these precious little jewel-like moments, that make me feel truly blessed to be a mom & share life and all its beauty with my little man. And what’s more, I am fortunate enough to be able to access and immerse him in such wonderful activities and all on our doorstep too.
I had heard of Forest School of course and I know just how wonderful being out in the great outdoors makes us both feel……. But Wonder Woods Forest School opened not only my eyes last Thursday, but my soul too. I felt entirely different when I left Broadacre Wood that day.
“Nature Play nurtures children’s minds, bodies, hearts & souls”
Wonder Woods Forest School is set in Broadacre Wood in Dorridge (10 minutes from Solihull town centre), a world away from the craziness of life; hook a left past the strawberry plants, through the butterfly walk and into the enchanted wood. Nurture Groups (for pre-schoolers) run three times a week and can be booked in six week blocks running during term time only. In addition to the pre-schooler sessions, they also offer after school clubs, school days and holiday clubs too.
Moma Says…… Wonder Woods Forest School is the creation of the nature loving, child-centric and wonderful human being, Carly. You’ll know just what I mean when you meet her! A mum and former nanny, it is clear she loves all that she does and has truly put her heart and soul into carving out such a magical space for those lucky enough to discover and enjoy it.
Carly believes that the natural world is somewhere we all feel free and comfortable in, where we feel free to explore, express ourselves, take risks and create memories, friendships and learn life-long lessons.
A concept created in Denmark, forest school utilises our natural surroundings, all that is beautiful naturally in our world to allow children to discover who they are and their place within it. Taking risks, developing self-esteem, confidence and both physical and communication skills too, are all said to be the result of taking part in outdoor learning, learning through play.
And after just 90-minutes at Wonder Woods, I whole-heartedly agree with this.
Just a small group of under five’s and their grown up, set off on an adventure through the greenhouse in search of butterflies, ladybirds and tadpoles toward the enchanted wood. As we turned the corner, the most beautiful garden of wild flowers lay ahead. The children explored the colours, the smells and ran freely amongst us all. I knew then, this was going to be a very different class to anything we had experienced before. I had already started to relax, and for those that know me, this is no mean feat!
Scooping a handful of tadpoles out of the pond, the littles gathered round to learn of how these little creatures will soon become frogs. Mesmerised! And such a wonderful opportunity for our little city slickers to experience.
We then gathered around the duck pond as we all dipped into the bird seed and scattered it….. well everywhere actually! A two-year old’s aim isn’t always spot on, so there was a lot of “watch the little girl’s hair there” as seed was flung into hair, down t-shirts and a little at the ducks.
Spotting a hillside, Baby Town headed to the top to roll down with a big “weeeeeee”. Everyone joined in (including an adult or two). Isn’t it great to be a kid?!
Dusting ourselves down, we rejoined the troupe. And then we discovered it….. “Oh. My. Goodness. This is AMAZING”, the actual words of Baby Town as we entered into the awesome wooded area that Carly has created. Mud kitchens, dens, water play. Trucks, trains, dinosaurs. The Woodland Store. A fairy garden. Teddy bear’s picnic. Magic. And lots of it.
It was just wonderful watching Baby Town explore in his own time and in his own way, all there was to discover. And to enjoy it with him, to play here with my little man was special. It was warm and balmy, the heatwave was at its hottest, yet it was cool, calm and full of fun there.
Time for a drink and a chat with some grown-ups, before Carly unveiled ‘the trolley’ and the little explorers all fought to hop in and avoid the walk back!
Too cute not to capture, is this the most adorable thing you’ve seen? Carly however, had the toughest workout pulling all eight little explorers!
Baby Town Says…… Wow this place was amazing! I love being out in the fresh air, I love to run, so this place was great. And so much to explore, so different to anything I’ve tried before. And the trolley was definitely my fav!
The Nitty Gritty Need to Know ……
The Place: Wonder Woods Forest School & Outdoor Learning
Location: Dorridge, Solihull
When: Weekly classes during term time
Under 2’s go free? No
Café/Restaurant? Carly creates a little café in the woods with refreshments for both the little ones and grown ups!
Parking? Yes, drive down the side of Dorridge Cricket ground and when you reach the clubhouse turn left, there is ample parking and Carly has her meeting point here too.
Loyalty Scheme? No
Breastfeeding friendly? Absolutely, no better place than feeding your little one in the great outdoors!
Have you & your little explorers ever tried forest school? Do you love getting up close to nature too? Maybe you’ve become a Wonderer with Carly too? We would love to hear your thoughts moma’s!