Dreamcatchers Forest School - Guideposts Trust

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Dreamcatchers Forest School

Dreamcatchers Forest School

Dreamcatchers Forest School provides children and young people with additional needs the opportunity to explore and enjoy the natural environment through hands-on play and team-building in woodland locations in Oxfordshire.

This project is supported by Children in Need.

Current Status: Dreamcatchers Forest School is up and running! Contact us if you would like to join in the fun.

How Forest School works

Dreamcatchers, based in West Oxfordshire, is funded by BBC Children in Need. We support children ages 5-15 with additional needs, such as a learning disability, autism, or mental health need. We aim to work with 100 children each year.

The project is based on Forest School themed interventions, encouraging children to explore the great outdoors through hands-on play and outdoor learning, concentrating on sensory inputs and allowing them to take risks and build confidence.

Our small groups have a high ratio of staff to children, enabling us to adapt activities to each individual’s needs.

During school holidays, we provide 3-hour forest school sessions at Curbridge and Shipton-under-Wychwood. Siblings and parents/carers can also take part during our Family Fun Days, helping to strengthen relationships and the wellbeing of the whole family, while our respite camping sessions are a great chance to enjoy the outdoors. The school holiday schedule is sent out to all our members closer to the date so that you can choose what to take part in. Contact us for more details.

During term time, we run pop up classes at local schools, providing weekly after school clubs. Please contact us if your school is interested!

What activities are on offer?

Activities are child led and adult facilitated. Sessions offer a range of fun and learning activities, based on the child’s interests.

A session might include:

  • Woodland arts and crafts, eg woodland mobiles and clay tree faces
  • Nature walks involving bug hunts and woodland scavenger hunts
  • Gardening
  • Fire lighting and cooking on campfires
  • Shelter building
  • Learning new skills such as knot tying and how to use tools safely (bow saws, loppers, palm drills)

Respite Camping

Dreamcatchers Forest School also offers overnight respite camping during school holidays, giving parents time to recharge. Children can enjoy outdoor adventures in a safe and supportive environment, with fun activities tailored to their needs.

Who can we support?

Dreamcatchers Forest School currently supports children aged 5-15 who have a disability or are on the SEND register, and children with social, emotional and Mental Health problems (SEMH).

Why should I join?

Forest School activities help children develop greater social skills, independence, problem-solving and imagination, while learning about risks and how to manage them safely.

Guideposts Dreamcatchers makes the benefits of Forest School available to children who rarely have this kind of access to the outdoors and nature, providing a safe and supportive environment with our team who adapt the activities to each child’s specific needs.

Key Info

Day & Time: Saturdays, 9am-2pm.

After school club on weekdays.

We run Family Fun Days, Dreamcatchers Club, and over night respite camping during school holidays.

Address: Paradise Fields, Curbridge, Witney, OX29 7YL

Contact number: 01993 893 560 / 07970 335 059

Email: VBond@guideposts.org.uk

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Forest School Planting Terrariums and Bulbs
Dreamcatchers Forest School Making Terrarium
Dreamcatchers Forest School Decorating Plantpots

“He loves being able to express himself in an environment where he feels so comfortable. He has made so many creations with you, he always comes out feeling proud and with a beaming smile.”

Ethan’s Mum

“They love the freedom, getting dirty, digging holes and doing all the things they can’t do at home.”

Charlie & Mark’s Dad

How to join?

You can sign up to Dreamcatchers: Forest School for your own family, and we receive referrals from social workers and family liaison officers. Schools who would like to work with us are also welcome to get in touch. You can call, email, or complete the Care Form at the bottom of the page.

We’ll get back in touch within 3 working days to arrange a time to meet or talk on the phone and you can ask any questions to see if this is the right service for you. You may be able to come and see a session to get a taster of what we do.

We would then create a plan together so that we understand the child’s needs and agree on some goals.  For the first sessions the parent or carer might stay to help your child feel comfortable with us.

If you would like to know more about how we can support your child, please contact Dreamcatchers Team Lead, Victoria Bond, on 07970 335059 or email VBond@guideposts.org.uk.

Children in Need