Are the children always outdoors in the forest? Even in rainy, cold and stormy weather?
Yes, essentially we are outdoors whatever the weather. The only exception made is when a storm warning is announced, at which point we move the group to indoor accommodation, e.g. at the nearby community centre. On rainy days, we hang a big tarpaulin between the trees in order to have somewhere dry underneath. In the cold winter, we have a vast repertoire of games to get us mobile and warm; in the snow we often go sledging. The trick to keep moving, moving and moving again. And there is always our campfire, around which to sit and eat. In emergencies we have the option to use agreed emergency accommodation (forest cabin, emergency shelter, construction trailer), in order to dry ourselves off and warm everyone up.
Can the children sleep outdoors?
Should a child need some quiet time or a midday nap, we can easily accommodate this in the forest. Snuggled down comfortably on thermal mats and wrapped up warm in a woollen blanket, a lovely nap can be had in the shade of a try or under the rain tarpaulin. Our hammock is also a much-loved spot for a nap in the open air.
Where do the children eat at midday?
We eat a cooked and re-heated vegetarian meal, cooked by each family in turn for the entire group and brought to the meeting place in the morning. We eat with spoons out of little bowls, sitting in a circle on thermal mats to offer protection from the cold and damp of the forest floor.
How do children go to the toilet? Where are nappies changed?
Nappies are changed according to the individual child’s wishes and the requirements of the weather, either standing up or lying on a mat. Children go to the toilet behind a forest tree; we collect everything but urine together in poop bags and of course assist smaller children where help is requested.
Aren’t 2-year-olds two small to be outside in all weathers?
If a 2-year-old is able to walk independently and carry their own snack in their rucksack, they are ready to spend the day with us in the forest. With the loving support not only of the carers but also of the older children, the child will soon feel very much at home in the forest.
How is a child acclimatised?
We invite each child to a trial day together with the parents. The acclimatisation period and programme is then agreed individually with the parents.
Are children ill more often due to being outdoors in the rain, snow and cold?
No, forest children are no more often ill than other children. On the contrary, the outdoors activity strengthens the immune system and they are ill less often.
What about ticks?
Tick bites can result in an infection with TBE (Encephalitis) or Lyme borreliosis. But it is possible to protect against ticks. To avoid tick bites, children at Troll wear closed shoes, long trouser, a long-sleeved shirt and a hat or other head covering. We recommend to parents that they use tick spray and check their child carefully for ticks after every visit to the forest. The quicker a tick is removed, the lower the risk of transmission of any infection. Children also have a better immune system to fight Lyme borreliosis. Should a child be infected, it can be treated with antibiotics.