Forest School

What is it?

Forest School is based on a rich heritage of outdoor learning going back to at least the 19th century. Philosophers, naturalists and educators in Europe and the UK such as; Wordsworth, Ruskin, Baden Powell, Leslie Paul (The Woodcraft Folk in 1925), Kurt Hahn (who founded Gordonstone and was the inspiration for the first outdoor education centres in UK), Susan Isaacs and the Macmillan sisters. The passion and vision of these and others, laid the foundations for what is known today as Forest School.

Rich History

During the 1970s and 80s our education system moved towards a more teacher led /outcome-centred approach and the national curriculum was introduced, mainly in an attempt to improve numeracy and literacy. What emerged from these changes in 1990s, was a growth of ‘alternative’ educational models and it is in this context that Forest School began to grow. See the Forest School Association website for more info.

Forest school is such a powerful way of giving children freedom and independence, the opportunity to explore and take risks within a managed setting. The benefits are endless and far reaching – current research is just scratching the surface but is already unequivocal in its recommendation of time spent in nature away from electronic devices and technology; outside in the fresh air and experiencing all weathers and seasons; being immersed in the rich bounty of the natural world. Not only has regular time spent in nature and in particular, Forest school, shown to be of benefit personally, socially, emotionally, physically, physiologically, and educationally, but there are also environmental benefits too: a fostering of respect for our amazing planet and the natural world. Forest school underpins a greater understanding and enjoyment of nature that can only lead to a higher level of care and respect for the Environment, which is essential for generations to come.

About Me

I am a fully qualified Design Technology Teacher (QTS) and have taught all age groups and various subjects for over 18 years in state, private and special education settings as well as freelance. I trained as a Level 3 Forest School Leader over 7 years ago because I absolutely love being outdoors, especially in the woods and I realised that many children today are seriously lacking in time outside and especially amongst trees, they just don’t have the opportunity to  while away the hours watching, playing, exploring and getting muddy! I had designed many outdoor learning projects during my 10 years as Head of Design Technology but when I learned about Forest School, the research and the ethos really spoke to me about fulfilling this need and it was a turning point in my career. 

Using their imagination and discovering new things is such a powerful way to learn and enjoy learning, it fills me with sorrow that children are not having these wonderful experiences as I did growing up…Forest School is one solution to that problem and I just love how much the children enjoy and appreciate these simple pleasures when they come along to my Forest School sessions.

I trained with Earthcraft CIC in Canterbury, who I would highly recommend; they are authentic and passionate about what they do. As a freelance Forest School Leader, I am able to offer specialised Forest School sessions in school, Home Educational, or recreational settings. I am based in Kent, and I am able to travel to surrounding areas. I am fully insured and have an up to date DBS – I have a fully comprehensive handbook which is available on request.

Forest School Sessions

Sessions have been suspended now until December due to lockdown 2 but I have plans for new and exciting sessions in collaboration with The Hub @ Quarry Farm in Bodiam.

Join me on social media for up to date information and inspiration or to discuss ideas and possibilities, feel free to email or give me a call… 

I would love to hear from you!

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