Rye MacFarlane

As our Forest School continues to grow from strength to strength, we’re delighted to welcome our newest member, Rye MacFarlane, to the Castle Lane Forest School team.

A new dad with a passion for the great outdoors

Introducing himself, Rye says “I’m 31 and have just had my first child Levison, who is now 8 weeks old, so still fresh out of the packet!

“We live on a narrowboat with my partner Lauren, and dog Ponyo, cruising the canals of the midlands. I absolutely love being so close to nature and spending time outside.

“I’m really excited to help the children experience and enjoy the great outdoors as much as I do. I’m keen to support their learning, whilst learning some new things myself, which I can put into practice with my own boy.”

The Castle Lane Forest School team is expanding!

Rye joins Forest School team leader Terri Revell and team member Charmaine Whitelock.

Castle Lane Day Nursery Co-director, Vikki Gamble, welcomes Rye saying “There are very few men who choose to work in the early years environment and so we consider ourselves particularly lucky to have Rye on our team.

Rye’s passion for Forest School is infectious and I know he will inspire the children to love the outdoors and all it can offer”.

What is the Castle Lane Forest School?

The Castle Lane Forest School was opened in September 2018 as a natural extension to our current offering, giving children the opportunity to build a longer term relationship with the outdoors, experiencing nature in all weathers, in a safe and supervised setting.

The school itself is located on a private estate near the village of Marston Trussell (visits to the site can be arranged for parents by the office) and comprises a clearing, with a tent and camping toilets plus handwashing facilities.

How does the Forest School work?

Forest School learning is a fantastic fit with the Castle Lane ethos, as we believe in unstructured play (as opposed to a type of play), where children might choose to engage in open-ended play with no specific learning outcome.

And because unstructured play is not instructor-led, our children are free to explore without direction – unless of course they ask for our input!

The layout of the Forest School is like many others – we have a fire circle and we work with the children long before they even have sight of this, so that they clearly understand the rules around it very early on – such as one entrance in and one exit out of the fire circle and absolutely no children allowed in the central area without an adult.

As part of our ‘physical area’, there’s also a fallen tree for them to climb on if they wish. This is a deliberately dynamic area in that it can change in appearance over time. For example, there was a swing up for a while. And then a bridge. It develops as the children want it to.

There is also an area with a shed which just contains tools such as hammers and screwdrivers, which we can use on the timber.

Our mud kitchen remains ever popular! As well as the den building area – complete with a slack line between the trees for balancing on which encourages gross motor development.

Outside this immediate area, there’s 4 or 5 acres of surrounding land, which we often go exploring to look for traces of animals e.g. badger footprints.

How can I sign up my child for Forest School?

Any child over the age of 3 is eligible – and welcome – to attend the Castle Lane Forest School.  They don’t have to attend our Pre-school Room to attend the forest school.

Morning sessions are run from 8am until 1pm during the week.

We are also running Forest School sessions over the Easter and Summer holidays as part of our Holiday Club offering.

We expect demand to be high (after all, what child wouldn’t want to spend the warm summer months playing outside all day?!) so early booking is essential.

To find out more about the Castle Lane Forest School and how you can book a place for your child, please call us on 01858 468006.