Forest School days to increase after successful launch in Dalby

Having a fabulous time at Dalby Diddys
Having a fabulous time at Dalby Diddys

Dalby Diddys is a new parent and pre-school kids club, set in the relaxing surroundings of Dalby Forest.

The club, which started at Easter, holds regular sessions at Dalby Diddys very own forest site, just a 10 minute walk from the courtyard where the office of parent company, Hidden Horizons, is based.

Al and Amy getting closer to nature with Sonny

Al and Amy getting closer to nature with Sonny

A range of activities are on offer, all aimed at encouraging visitors to embrace the outdoors and get closer to nature. These include den building, mud kitchens, cooking (real food), bug hunts, craft activities and much more.

Hidden Horizons is the brainchild of Will Watts, former geologist at Scarborough’s Rotunda Museum.

Will started the company after taking redundancy from the museum. It has grown from fossil hunting and dinosaur footprint walks to now encompass stargazing, tree climbing, overnight bushcraft sessions and forest schools.

Alongside Will, there are also two ecologists, an astronomer and a bushcraft expert.

Sonny exploring in the forest

Sonny exploring in the forest

Dalby Diddys embraces the forest school ethic and after the October half term, classes are set to increase to three mornings a week, Tuesday to Thursday. Families can book individual sessions, or for the full half term if they prefer.

The company not only run sessions with pre-schoolers, they also engage with school groups, either bringing them into the forest, or taking the company’s star dome to them.

When asked what his most popular class has been to date, Will said without hesitation: “Spoon carving! It was really popular and we’re planning to repeat it very soon.”

Dalby Diddys try to encourage children to explore the natural world. It is run by one of Hidden Horizon’s two level three qualified Forest School teachers.

Forest Leader Donna McAnulty-Rickard with Jenny Avery and son Jack

Forest Leader Donna McAnulty-Rickard with Jenny Avery and son Jack

Each session contains a guided element, however, there is also time set aside so that children can do what they want to do.

Forest school leader, Donna McAnulty-Rickard said: “People really enjoy being able to sit down and relax.”

Al and Amy, visiting with son Sonny, said: “ we saw it advertised on Facebook and thought that this was something we’d like to do as a family, so we came down to celebrate Sonny’s fourth birthday.”

Donna, a trained Montessori teacher and level 3 Forest Leader, said: “In the winter I want to put fairy lights underneath the trees and make it magical.”

Donna McAnulty-Rickard with Will Watts

Donna McAnulty-Rickard with Will Watts