Setting up a forest school isn’t easy

A forest school is an innovative concept that aims to educate children primarily through outdoor play and learning within a natural environment. Usually located within a woodland setting, forest schools take a natural approach towards academic and social learning by encouraging children to learn by exploring the world.

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A report in the Guardian states that the Forest School Association charity has helped 12,000 teachers and other professionals in undertaking forest school training. But what is involved in setting up a forest school? From essential training to the practical necessities, this article seeks to explore how you’d go about setting up a forest school.


There are different levels of training required to open a forest school. The early-stage training (Level 1) equips people with the knowledge of the ethos of forest schools but doesn’t qualify them to run one. Levels 2 and 3 are longer and more in-depth training courses that work towards assistant and full practitioner roles. The latter qualification allows a person to set up and run a forest school programme. Training covers everything from recognising specific plant and tree species to carrying out risk assessments and, most importantly, understanding how to enable children to thrive and grow through their contact with the natural world.

A Site

A dedicated site is the backbone to any forest school. With the core ethos of this concept being tied into the natural world, it stands to reason that your site will be in a field, woodland or garden-based site. Many forest schools are run from bespoke education buildings such as log cabins or other modular buildings. It is, of course, essential that this building can offer the appropriate levels of warmth and safety and suitable facilities.  One way to keep the schools warm is to talk to a Double Glazing Cheltenham company and ask them to install new windows for you.  they can be found at sites like
A Group

This may be an existing group (such as an existing pre-school or nursery) or one that is being set up specifically to trial a new forest school scheme. These will be the staff and pupils who will form the basis of your forest school. Before the school can open, there will be a consolidation process during which the training you have undertaken will be applied to your individual setting and circumstances. At this point, the group can come together to see how exactly the scheme will work for them.