Are you interested in learning the skills to be able to take your group outside and into a woodland setting more often? Would you like children to be able to spend more time outdoors, in nature, which has huge benefits for their health & well-being as well as their personal, cognitive, and creative development?

Forest School, which has been growing in Ireland since 2013 is based on recurring time in nature, it is child-led and designed to develop the children’s relationship to themselves, each other, learning and nature in a safe and holistic way.

What I offer

Adult Forest School Training

  • Growing Wild is part of the training team delivering one of the OCN Level 3 Forest School Leadership Training Programmes in Ireland, more info about the training offered here.
  • Growing Wild offers bespoke Forest School training from introductory to advanced levels.

Forest School Programmes

  • Short to medium term Forest School programmes with primary & secondary schools and community groups
  • After School Programme
  • Growing Wild currently runs an after-school programme out of Castletown House Woods, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. More info here.

Teacher Training

  • Growing Wild in collaboration with Forest School Ireland run a teacher summer training course (we will return in 2022 when COVID restrictions allow face to face training again).

Seasonal Camps

  • Growing Wild run themed easter, summer, Hallowe’en, and other camps from Castletown House Woods

To find out more about any of the areas above, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

More about Forest School

Forest School promotes the well-being of children through quality time spent outdoors, in nature, on a long-term or recurring basis, allowing for the holistic learning and development of the child through child centred activities such as child-led free play.

Forest School is child-led and designed to develop the children’s relationship to themselves, each other, and nature in a safe way. Each child will engage with this in their own way and our aim is to support that as Forest School leaders.

By repeated time spent in the same woodland location, Forest School promotes the children’s sense of place and their connection to nature and the natural environment, and in so doing to develop future earth stewards and advocates for our natural environment.

Activities that generally happen at Forest School

Forest School programmes are delivered in local woodlands or at a local park or in the school grounds, whichever is most probable. The programme normally consists of several weekly sessions of approximately 2.5-3 hours in length, with two groups on the day, depending on the type of groups involved.

During our Forest School programme participants will be empowered to choose their preferred activities with time set aside for child-led free-play. They will be given agreed boundaries, ground rules and FSL’s will have all prior risk assessments for activities on file.

Activities that will be available include coppicing and crafting with hazel or willow, camouflage, tracking wildlife, whittling, making charcoal and crafts from natural materials, nature awareness games, foraging, making dens and shelters, how to use outdoor tools, storytelling, expanding the senses, mud and clay play, mini-beasts and habitats, flora & fauna ID & making, orienteering, mapping, reflection time and games and whatever they come up with during child-led play time.

Find out more about the benefits of Forest School.

Forest School can happen in a variety of habitats, such as woodland, bog, wild location, waste ground, school ground or even an urban city park around Ireland and the skills taught and games we use can be adapted for use by the attending teachers and shared within the wider education community.

My qualifications

  • OCN Level 3 Forest School leadership Training, qualified Forest School leader
  • Associate Trainer with Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC, part of UK/Irish training team for Level 3 Forest School training Programme in Ireland
  • Part of Programme Development team, developing the first Irish QQI Level 6 Certified Forest School Leadership Training Programme.
  • Committee member of the Irish Forest School Association
  • Ongoing CPD courses in Forest School, e.g., challenging behaviour, outdoor structures for Forest School
  • REC2 Outdoor First Aid Trained, Child safeguarding procedure in place, all staff garda vetted, Public Liability in place.

Previous Projects

In collaboration with Ciara Hinksman of Forest School Ireland

Weston Primary Montessori School, Castletown Woods, Kildare, autumn 2020

We ran a 10-week programme with 2 groups from 1st class to 6th class from this small Montessori school in Celbridge, Co. Kildare. This project as supported through the Kildare County Heritage Office and our Kildare Heritage Officer, Bridget Loughlin.

Maynooth Pilot Forest School Project, Spring 2018:

We ran a successful 10-week pilot Forest School Programme in South Meadows Woodland on MU campus from February 2018-May 2018, with 2 x 1st class boys’ class from Maynooth Boys National School.

Fingal County Council 2017

Based in the Furry Glen, in the Phoenix Park and run-in collaboration with Phoenix Park Forest School (Lucy O’Hagan of Wild Awake). We worked with 1 x 5th class group and an after-school group from the Local Youth Service Project

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council:

In autumn 2017, we ran a successful pilot Forest School programme in Marlay Park, in conjunction with 2 local primary schools, we worked with 1 x 6th class girls and 1 x 6th class boys’ group, one day a week for 10 weeks.