What types of activities do you do?
The FRUK team choose weekly themes for the basis of our learning and play which incorporates all the areas of learning set out within the EYFS statutory framework set by Ofsted.
Some examples of ideas presented are:
- Tool use
- Creating using found objects within nature
- Identification of flora and fauna
- Den & shelter building
- Fire lighting
- Cooking over an open fire
- Cooperative games
- Mud Kitchen
Is Free Range Urban Kids OFSTED registered?
Yes our registration number is EY492688. We gained our Ofsted registration in October 2015 and officially opened as a fully outdoors Forest Kindergarten in January 2016.
We had our most recent inspection on 25 January 2019. Find out more on our Ofsted page
Do you organise site visits for prospective parents and their families interested in join ing the Forest Kindergarten at FRUK?
Before joining Free Range Urban Kids, we encourage all parents to come and visit us. We run site tours once a month. As places are limited at our site visits we prioritise those wishing for their child to start within the next 6 months. Please enquire and book a place by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
When is my child eligible to join the Kindergarten?
Your child is eligible to join the Kindergarten after their third birthday (or depending on vacancies, at the start of the term in which they turn 3 years old).
How do I apply for a place?
Please complete an enquiry form and return it to us via e-mail along with a £25 administration fee to register your interest in a place in the Forest Kindergarten. We will then confirm whether FRUK can offer childcare for the days required. Upon receiving confirmation, a start date is given for settling in sessions, FAMLY and an ‘all about me’ form is completed. All registration information will need to be completed before the child’s place can be confirmed at the Kindergarten. If there is no availability for your desired days and start date, you may request to go on our waiting list.
How do waiting lists operate for the Forest Kindergarten?
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. There is a £25 administration fee to join the FRUK waiting list. This fee is to secure a place on the waiting list only, which is non refundable. To join the waiting list please email email@example.com
Priority is given to children who attend FRUK’s Nature Club, our outdoor ‘stay-and-play’ group for 2 year olds, and children with older siblings attending the FRUK Kindergarten. Please see our admissions policy for further details
When do places become available?
We generally know when children will be moving on to primary school and will be able to begin our main offer of places in June each year. Our main intakes are 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 child on the waiting list.
Are there a minimum number of sessions that my child needs to attend per week?
Children need to attend for a minimum of 2 FULL DAYS per week . The more time a child spends at our setting the deeper the learning and benefits are to the child from the Forest School ethos. We offer a maximum of 3 days for a just turned 3 year old with a view to increasing their attendance once they are older and fully settled with us. For older children we offer a maximum of 4 days attendance.
When is the Forest Kindergarten open?
Our opening hours are 9.15 am – 3.15 pm Monday to Friday during term time. (38 weeks of the year). We follow Hackney Schools calendar.
How do I access the 15hrs Government Universal Funding Entitlement at FRUK
Your child is able to access 570 hours of free early education or childcare per year from the term after their third birthday. Free Range Urban Kids offer this funding applied across the school terms (over 38 weeks). For more details, please visit: https://freerangeurbankids.com/what-we-offer/kindergarten/forest-kindergarten-booking-fees/
Are your staff all qualified?
Our FRUK team hold Early Years childcare and teaching qualifications and / or Forest School Qualifications. Find out more about The FRUK Team.
What are your adult to children ratios?
3 to 7 years – 1 staff member to every 5 children.
Due to the nature of FRUK and the large amount of outdoor space available we always endeavour to operate with more staff than statutory childcare regulations require.
Do you prepare and cook your own food?
At FRUK we believe in the importance of healthy food and a balanced diet. Therefore most snacks are prepared by us, using organic fruit, herbs and vegetables. Most ingredients where possible will be locally sourced. Our current suppliers include Growing Communities for fruit and vegetables, Suma for dry goods, oils.
Some organic produce, messy play ingredients and stock cupboard essentials also come from Supermarkets. Please follow our blog to learn more about the food we serve and how menus are carefully selected and prepared by us.
Children are required to bring a healthy packed lunch and we can guide you on this.
How do I know my child will be safe and secure?
All our staff hold an up to date enhanced Criminal Record Bureau now called a DBS, (Disclosure and Barring Service) check before they are allowed to be with the children. In addition, two personal references are taken up prior to starting work with FRUK.
All the equipment at FRUK are of a high quality and regular risk assessments on equipment and procedures are carried out to ensure everything is maintained to the highest standard.
We carry out regular fire/ emergency evacuation drills with the children, so that they become familiar with the routine, and should we have an emergency, we will be able to clear the site quickly and safely.
When you register your child with us you will tell us who is allowed to collect your child and a password system will be put in place for added security. If your child is to be collected by a different person, (relative, friend etc.), staff must be notified at drop off time. We will not release a child to anyone unless we have your permission to do so. All visitors attend by prior appointment.
Staff hold an up to date First Aid qualification, including specific paediatric and outdoor First Aid.
Upon registering we will ask you of any medical issues you are aware of that will ensure we understand any medical needs your child might have and adjust our practice accordingly.
What are the Forest Kindergarten fees and when are they payable?
Fees are payable monthly in advance. We request parents/carers to please pay their invoices by the first of each month. At FRUK we offer the 15 hours Universal Entitlement for 3 & 4 yr olds. We also accept childcare vouchers by prior arrangement and the new Tax Free Childcare scheme. For further details on all methods of payment please see our fee structure.
Why don’t you separate the children by age groups as other childcare and education settings do?
We believe that offering three to seven year olds the opportunity to play together rather than separating them into different age groups offers the best learning environment. The older child has the opportunity to nurture and to show the younger children how to do things. Children like to observe and imitate each other, and thus learn from each other.
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.
What happens when it rains?
We get our waterproofs on and jump in muddy puddles or seek shelter under our tarps and tents. In severe bad weather e.g. high winds and/or thunder storms which would make our site unsafe or other unforeseen circumstances we will continue the session indoors visiting a local library or local museum.
In such cases, FRUK will inform those attending via FAMLY our on line software system we use for communication with parents & carers. Parents can download the app for free from their app store.
For those children who still sleep during the day, we provide cosy hammocks or pop-up tents for sleep time. We also provide sleeping bag, hot water bottles and blankets. If your child prefers to sleep in their buggy, please leave the buggy on site with us. All that fresh air is great for a restorative nap!
What about toileting?
We erect a toilet tent in the woods 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 tent. You will need to provide nappies, wet wipes and any creams we need to apply. We take all of our nappies off our site with us and dispose of them appropriately.
How do you manage dog walkers and members of the public accessing your site?
Our site is fully enclosed by a fence, which means that a dog cannot run into the site, unless someone has let the dog in.
Should a dog walker or member of public enter whilst the children are on site, a member of staff would introduce themselves and let them know that children are playing and engaged in deep learning on the site.
Should we consider the safety of the children to be at risk, and the member of public or dog walker decide to stay on site, we would evacuate our site and roam until it is safe to return.
What happens in case of an accident?
Children who are used to playing outdoors are 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 calls for medical help if needed, and the third member of staff will gather the other children to ensure they are kept safe and distracted by reading stories to them.
What about the Holiday Clubs?
FRUK run holiday clubs for four to eight year olds during the holiday periods, unless your child is already attending the FRUK Kindergarten, in which case they can join the holiday clubs from the age of 3, subject to the child being ready for a full day.
Priority booking is offered to FRUK kindergarten members first and then any remaining availability is offered to the public. We strongly recommend a minimum booking of two days per week for holiday camps.
To book tickets NOW please use this ticket tailor link, click here
How do I contact FRUK if I have any further questions?
You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We aim to respond to all emails within 2 working days.