What do you do when it rains?
Play!! (See Weather Therapy in Play for Wales.)
warm and dry
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we rig up to
have a yurt
What about toileting?
We have a specified area at each play camp where we erect a tarp to offer shelter and privacy for toileting. We compost our faeces waste – offering the children the opportunity to witness the transformational process of poo into roses! Children not used to toileting outside quickly adapt; staff are on hand to assist as needed.
Our toileting policy.
How will you support my child in toilet training?
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How will you assist my child in settling in at the Secret Garden?
We appreciate what a huge step it is for both the child and parents/carers to step into preschool education and acknowledge that fears may be manifested by both the child and adult. Our aim is to support your child as best we can as they enter this new world.
After your initial visit to meet staff, ask questions and explore a bit of the woods with your child we then invite you back a week prior to your child’s first day. This visit will be on the day of your child’s attendance in order for them to meet the adults that will be caring for them, socialise with the children they will play with and witness the lunch time routine.
On your child’s first day please bring them to the park with time to play and socialise before walking up the hill. If your child is anxious we ask that the drop off be as swift as possible. This may intuitively sound counterproductive but in our experience the swifter the separation the speedier the child settles down. If on your departure your child is crying be assured that they will be cared for in an exemplary way. We find that compassionate, empathetic listening helps the child to connect with and release the feelings of sadness or fear allowing him/her to step into play quite quickly. We will contact you via a call or text to keep you informed of how your child is coping.
My child comes home expressing frustration that he can’t climb the trees, could you help him please?
We have a policy of not physically assisting children to climb up trees. We love explaining the best way to use their bodies to succeed as they climb but are wary of helping them reach a goal that they’re not physically or emotionally able to hold. Many of the self taught activities of the Secret Garden rely on physical experience and strength, a lot of watching peers and a huge amount of perseverance which develops emotional resilience. When your child does succeed in climbing the tree, or jumping on the swing, the sense of achievement is phenomenal for child and staff!
to 600 hours
down to 15
a week, 3
funding is a
to a total
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paid at a
rate of £4
March and 31st
may be split
fund you if
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one full day
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finally, here are some tips from ‘old hands’ – parents/carers of Secret Gardeners:
No matter what you think about the weather, try to be positive as this will rub off on the children. Turn rainy days into lots of puddles to play in, a drink for the plants and good news for farmers who are growing crops…
Grandparents and even some neighbours and friends sometimes need a little reminder that the children see things differently from adults and that we're not being cruel by exposing them to all weathers. We are creating opportunities and memories which will stay with them.
There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.
Drop-off and mud
Be prepared for an initial sense of doubt on dropping your little one(s) off in the pouring rain as you dash back indoors as quick as possible. Enough to say as confidence grows with staff (and with your own child’s resilience), it soon passes.
Don’t worry about sending your child to the Secret Garden in muddy clothes! They don't have to look immaculate as they certainly won't be at the end of the day!
If you're heading to work after dropping your child off at the park, keep a pair of wellies in the car. This saves you having to clean your shoes in the sink at work!
Pick-up and mud
If you like to have a clean car, keep an old car mat in the boot and stand your child on it next to the car to take off their wellies and dirty clothes. Alternatively, change in the lovely mud shelter. A trug in the boot is handy for really muddy clothes.
Check the label for washing waterproofs. Some have a coating and you shouldn't use a detergent as it strips away the waterproofing. If you must wash them, a warm-water-only wash in your machine does just as well.
Be on the look-out for hidden twigs, stones, fungus, flower heads, etc. in pockets and rucksacks before putting items in the wash!
Waterproof trousers with braces are best as they don't get pulled down when sliding down muddy hills. Waterproof trousers without braces are best as they are easier for toileting. (SG says: ‘Even our parents/carers don’t always agree! Good quality waterproofs are important – please do check them regularly so your child stays dry and happy!’)
Fleece as a mid-layer top and bottom works much better than cotton as it is warmer and less likely to get saturated with water. Ones with cuffs work well to tuck under socks so they don't pull up when the child puts on the outer layer.
Standard wellies offer very little warmth; neoprene wellies or snow-boots are much better for colder days.
Have a supply of cheap gloves (‘magic’ gloves are good) and send a few in with your child each day so that they have dry ones if they get wet. Sew your child’s name on if you want to stand a chance of not losing any!
The rucksacks provided are great but not waterproof. Put spare clothing in a waterproof dry bag (eg. those by Exped) inside the rucksack (plastic bags leak!)
Put a spare carrier bag in the rucksack to put wet or soiled clothing in.
Little food flasks to keep spaghetti, macaroni, beans, pasta, etc warm are handy, but a food flask and a drink flask together may be a bit too heavy.
Food and drink containers should be easy to open – think cold fingers on small hands – this encourages independence as your child is less reliant on adult help.
A small flask of hot chocolate goes down a treat on winter days!