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Using and Storing Tools

The use of simple tools develops and build skills, competencies, confidence, a sense accomplishment, well-being and responsibility. Using tools helps children to understand and manage risk.

All tools are counted out and back in at the beginning and end of each session in which they are used. When not in use in the forest, they are kept secured away in a locked box. Before each tool is to be used it will be checked for damage and working order.

Each tool type is kept in their own suitable containers, many of which are also lockable. Children must never be allowed to help themselves and will always have adult supervision when collecting, transporting and using tools.

Tools are only used for a specific purpose. All adults model correct and safe tool use, storage and transportation at all times. When using a tool, they are used well away from others in the group, in a ‘blood bubble’ and ensuring that others are aware that a tool is in use. Only walking is permitted when transporting a tool.

Only wear a glove when using a bow saw and only on your bracing hand. No other tools may be used when the operator is wearing gloves.

Potato Peelers and Knives – for peeling or sharpening sticks (whittling)

A ratio of 1 adult to 2 children will be observed. This tool must be used seated on a log with elbows placed upon knees and using the tool in a downward motion between the legs. A ‘blood bubble’ space must be determined ensuring a safe distance away from others. If someone wishes to pass through your bubble they must verbally ask and you must stop while they pass, Safe, very temporary, storage is to store the blade end of the peeler in the soil. When carrying peelers, one must walk with them held down by your side. Once a child is deemed to be competent by the Educator, they may be allowed to use a fixed blade knife to whittle under close and one to one supervision. The same rules as above still apply. When carrying a knife return it to its sheath and tie it in securely using the strings. Carry the knife either by your side or with the string around your neck. Tools must be returned to the storage container when no longer in use.

Mallet
The mallet is to be kept in its cover when not in use and kept in the tool bag. No glove is needed when children are using this tool. Children will require one to one supervision. Remind others in the vicinity to stay clear of tools.

Bow Saws – for cross cutting wood up to 12cm diameter

Children may be taught how to use a bow saw with 1:1 supervision, or with a ‘buddy’ helping in a ‘push-pull’ fashion. Adults must always supervise closely and should place their hand (gloved) between the child’s hand and that of the saw blade. The safest method of use is to brace the wood through the bow saw itself. The saw blade must be covered when not in use. When being carried the bow saw blade (in its’ cover) should be pointing downwards, and to the back. When not in use (locked box storage) blades should be loosen off by an adult.

Palm Drills/Bit and Brace – for making holes

The item to be drilled should be placed and held (by the adult) securely on a firm flat surface. Work in a safe space being aware of others moving around you, think ‘blood bubble’. Safe, very temporary, storage is to store the blade pushed downwards into the soil. Carry these tools by your side facing downwards and remember only to walk.

When not in use all tools will be securely locked away in the tool box. Tools should be checked and cleaned before they are put away. On a regular basis, FNP staff will ensure that each tool is thoroughly cleaned and oiled. When tools are in use, wear and tear will be monitored daily.