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Forest School in Practice

Forest School in Practice
For All Ages

First Edition


January 2017 | 216 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

A beautiful full-colour book by Forest School expert and teacher Sara Knight that inspires and encourages individuals of all ages to take an innovative approach to outdoor play and learning. The images throughout the book bring alive Forest School activities and each chapter is accompanied by creative ideas for practice and in depth case studies from across the United Kingdom and Ireland exploring the amazing variety of nature provision. Coverage includes:

  • Rural and urban day nurseries for very young children
  • State and independent provision for Early Years and Primary Schools
  • Secondary School intervention strategies for students with special education needs and disabilities
  • How to support parents and families with Forest School
  • Supporting people with mental health issues.

Suggestions for further reading at the end of chapters will be a helpful guide for students to read around the topic. 

Whether you're training to become a teacher, or already working in the outdoor classroom, this book demonstrates how Forest School approaches are enriching learning opportunities for children, young people and adults, and deepening their connections with the natural world, with spectacular results.

Sara Knight will be discussing key ideas from Forest School in Practice in the SAGE Early Years Masterclass, a free professional development experience hosted by Kathy Brodie.


SECTION 1: Nature Provision for very Young Children
Chapter 1: Nature Kindergarten
Chapter 2: Rural Day Nurseries
Chapter 3: Urban Day Nurseries
SECTION 2: Forest School Opportunities for Three to Five Year Olds
Chapter 4: Scotland
Chapter 5: Wales
Chapter 6: Northern Ireland & Ireland
Chapter 7: England
SECTION 3: Forest School at Primary School
Chapter 8: State Schools Compared
Chapter 9: Independent Provision compared
SECTION 4: Forest School at Secondary School
Chapter 10: Forest Schools as Part of Special and Inclusive Education
Chapter 11: Forest School as an Intervention Strategy in Mainstream Schools
Chapter 12: Forest School and Pupil Referral Units, and Other Separate Provision
SECTION 5: Other Forest School Occurences
Chapter 13: Improving Mental Health through Forest School
Chapter 14: Supporting Families with Forest School

This book celebrates the long and diverse journey that the Forest School Approach has had within the UK.  It demonstrates clearly the benefits for all people, young and old, of being outside in Nature.  Sara shares inspirational case studies that clearly share the place of leadership and innovation in the field of education, to make a difference for children and families.

Claire Warden
Educational Consultant and CEO of Mindstretchers Ltd

The author builds on their experience and body of work to deliver another great title. It is an accessible read that takes the ethos of Forest School into new areas. There is theory here, but with a healthy focus on putting principles into practice, with case studies to further strengthen the key messages.
Practitioners will welcome the chance to not only see how Forest Schools can be used with older children, but will also welcome the chance, I am sure, of being able to use the examples in the book to influence colleagues from later key stages.

Neil Henty
Early Years Educator

This book is particularly suitable for students undertaking modules on pedagogy, curriculum and outdoor play. It is a thorough explanation of the Forest School practices and the benefits that this approach can open in terms of holistic education. Generally literature on the Forest School approach is scarce, so this publication is a welcome addition to the field of pedagogy and curriculum.

Mrs Criona Madeline Blackburne
Early years Department, Portobello Institute
December 14, 2016

This is an excellent survey of the different kinds of provision that are currently available in the UK for pupils in schools from preschool right through to secondary school. The writer gives a clear sense of the theoretical underpinnings of forest schools as well as providing thoughtful and inspiring case studies to help teachers and school managers think about how they can build or add to the provision of outdoor education in their school, as well as why they should. The book is clearly structured, not overly academic in tone, and provides useful sections at the end of each chapter highlighting ideas for practice as well as further reading. This is a very useful resource for students and teachers alike.

Dr Louise Campbell
Moray House School of Education, Edinburgh University
August 22, 2016

This is a beautifully written book, and the author has the gift of drawing you in to important matters, and before you know it, you realise that you are learning a great deal.

Dr Walter Riggans
Religion , Cliff College
September 13, 2016

Brilliant book summarising Forest Schools throughout the UK. Especially like the mixture of research, case studies and ideas. This will be adopted as Essential Reading on our Reading Lists next year in our Early Years and Health & Wellbeing courses.

Miss Linda Lapere
School of Education, Social Work &, Dundee University
November 6, 2016

This text explores nature provision and forest schools in all four parts of the UK. It shares case studies and discusses different methods and purposes for outdoor education, especially in relation to inclusion. It is an inspiring and accessible text.

Dr Louise Campbell
Moray House School of Education, Edinburgh University
February 17, 2017

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