Welcome to Forries Education
Forest Schools in South East London
Bookings are open for Autumn term and Half Term Holiday sessions
We offer activities for pre-school children, after school clubs, school holiday sessions, school curriculum sessions and ‘wild’ Forries birthday parties, encouraging child led play and learning in a natural environment. Our forest school sessions are based in woodland settings throughout South East London.
What is Forest School?
Forest School is an innovative, child led approach to outdoor play and learning. This ethos of outdoor learning started in Scandinavia and is growing in popularity in the UK. It is fun and unhurried. It is focused on process not product.
Research shows that children benefit from being outdoors and at Forries Education we encourage children from Early Years to Key Stage 2 (3 to 11 years old for non-teacher folk, though we had children from 18 months join us) to have adventures and take responsibilities. They develop confidence and resilience by learning how best to take risks, cooperate, negotiate and compromise with each other whilst stretching their legs as well as their imagination.
In reality, that means outdoor fun, tools, mud and dens and lots of climbing fallen trees in the rain and snow.
For more detailed information on what Forest School is, click here to read.
Have a look at our Instagram and Facebook galleries to see that it works in practice.
Please note, we usually take photos of the children during sessions to use on the website and social media to promote Forries Education. The children are never named. Please let us know by email is you do not want your children to be photographed.
Meet the founder
Forries Education was founded in 2014 by James Hazlerigg-Kinlay, a Waldorf Steiner trained teacher, horticulturalist, garden designer, Forest School Level 3 practitioner, paediatric outdoor first aid trained, DBS (CRB) checked, father and lover of mud! All staff are DBS checked, have relevant experience, are qualified where necessary and share a love of learning outdoors.
The Forries Education team is dedicated to fostering a sense of care and connection between the children who we are privileged to have in our care and the natural world, right here in Lewisham and South East London.
We aim to inspire a life-long love of nature and environmental stewardship, as well a sense of connection with both our wider community and the natural world. In our natural learning environments, the children gain a better understanding of how all of life is connected and experience how our actions, both good and bad influence the world around us.
With this understanding, we hope the children will have the wisdom and knowledge to make choices in their daily lives that will have a positive impact on our planet, themselves and each other.
Deputy Mayor of London for Transport, former MP for Lewisham East and former Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Each day is filled with new experiences that cannot be found indoors
We are busy expanding our learning at Forries, and have some exciting projects coming up later in the year. In the true spirit of Forest School, our leaders’ days are filled with new experiences, which we will be sharing with you.
Keep watch on our pages as an exciting new programme for our youngest members will be coming in late 2023!
Forries School Sessions
Out of the classrooms and into the wild they go
Research backs up what forest school practitioners have known all along. Our children are stimulated by the outdoors and typically experience, over time, an increase in their self-belief, confidence, learning capacity, communication and problem-solving skills and emotional well-being.
We offer the following forest school sessions:
Pre-School Sessions 'Forest Sprite'
Join us for treasure hunts, finding mini-beasts, making animals from clay, mini boat building, den building, sploshing in puddles, mud painting, singing, games & lots of fun!
Children must be accompanied by an adult.
When & where?
Pre-school ‘Forest Sprite’ sessions run from 10 – 12am.
- Fridays at The Church of the Good Shepherd – corner of Handen and Wantage Roads, Lee
Prices depending on number of sessions per term. Go to ‘Notices & New Sessions’ to find the latest term dates and prices
After School Club
Out of the classrooms and into the wild they go…
Those who want to join us for a FREE first session/ taster session will notice the excitement when our after school club children arrive hopping, skipping and ready to explore.
Each term covers around 13 /14 sessions, depending on term length. The last session of each term is our fire session, marking the break for half term or holidays. The children will make and bake their own bread, enjoy popping corn and making S’mores over the fire.
When & where?
After school club sessions run from 3.30 – 5.30pm. Sessions only run during Lewisham term time.
- Mondays at St Margaret’s CE Primary School , Lewisham.
- Wednesdays at St Mary’s CE school. , Lewisham.
Prices depending on number of sessions per term. Go to ‘Notices & New Sessions’ to find the latest term dates and prices.
School Holiday Sessions
Do you want your child to have a holiday spent in a woodland setting? While we can’t guarantee the weather, you can rest assured that they will be having fun, making new friends, learning valuable life skills out in the fresh air come rain or shine. They may come home muddy but never bored!
Dates for school holiday sessions are announced during the half-term preceding the holiday in the Notices & New Sessions section.
Make sure you follow our Facebook and Instagram profiles for updates and upcoming sessions!
Forries Birthday Parties
Give your son or daughter a ‘Forries’ adventure for a party they’ll remember for years. Following a theme they will be taken on a fantastic journey with guided activity, time to free play, building and lighting a fire and toasting marshmallows (fire optional) and picnic lunch/tea.
Activities could include… Whittling swords and magic wands, making bows & arrows, mini beast hunts, clay modelling, forest school jewellery making, den building and maybe even a bit of mud!
You can choose to celebrate in your own garden or at Mountsfield Park community garden .
£250 for 2 hours and up to 14 children.
What you get
All equipment & activities, which will include things the group make and take away with them, marshmallows for toasting on the fire (fire optional). Fully qualified and DBS (CRB) checked staff.
Just two additional adults, party food, cake and drinks.
To discuss your requirements, contact James on 07895608431 or email email@example.com
School Curriculum Sessions
Working alongside the school staff sessions can be one-off or, for more impact, regular visits to enhance the student’s learning by bringing a subject to life.
Long-term programmes support contact with nature through all seasons and in all weathers. As a minimum we would prefer one group to participate for half a term. The longer the programme the more beneficial it will be.
Here are some examples of what can be done:
- The PTA could fund all Year 1s to have a session once a week for 6 weeks
- The school has funding in its school development plan and we can help start their Forest School journey by taking their Year 1s out once a week for 6 weeks
- Year 3s taken out for half a day to compliment their curriculum theme on natural art and mini beasts.
These sessions take place during the school day and are arranged by the school.
Please approach your child’s school about organising these sessions with us.
- Hygiene measures
– Forries employees are always advised to practise strict hygiene and cleanliness procedures.
- What aged children do you work with?
– Our Forest Sprites are 18months to 5yrs and are adult accompanied – this is not a drop off provision. Our after school clubs are school aged children, reception to year 6. From 1 to 100: forest school fun and learning is ageless.
- What should children wear?
– Dress for the weather, it is always cooler in the woods, legs/feet must be covered. Be prepared to get muddy and wet and a waterproof top layer (jacket and trousers) is always recommended. Waterproofs and wellies in the winter; sun hat and sunscreen in the summer.
- Will my child enjoy forest school?
– Not sure? We offer a free trial for you to give it a go before committing to the rest of the term or 1/2 term.
- Is it safe for young children to work with tools?
– Tools are introduced under supervision and their use is monitored closely and only used in base camp. Every single tool is introduced with a tool talk and step-by-step instructions. Children are never left alone using tools.
- What about fire? Is that dangerous?
– Fire is only used in our end of term sessions. As with tools, fire making is introduced with guidance and is closely monitored. Fires are placed in a metal fire pit and extinguished with water.
- Will the children get food?
– Children should bring their own snacks and drink to their session.
- What if the weather is extremely bad, rain, ice… end of the world-like?
– We will only cancel a session in high winds, storms, extremely heavy rain and will contact the email you provided when booking in the event of a cancellation.
- Do you ever cancel a session?
– Only in extreme weather (see above) or if our staffing means we cannot meet our adult:child ratio. We will contact the email you provided when booking in the event of a cancellation.
- Will I get a refund if I miss a session?
– We cannot refund you for the odd missed session due to illness or previous plans. We offer a free trial for you to give it a go before committing to the rest of the term or 1/2 term. However, if you decide to book a block of sessions, you are agreeing that your child will attend most of the sessions, as they run on a linear process with a build-up of skills over time. Once you have booked a block of sessions, this is taken as a commitment to this process by attending as many as you can. If you decide that you no longer want to attend the sessions, we don’t refund for those sessions that you have missed. In exceptional circumstances we offer a credit for future sessions for both holiday and term time.
- What if I cancel my booking for Forest School Sessions during the holidays? – Refunds are not generally made less than 5 working days before the sessions are due to start. We usually give a credit note for future holiday sessions.
- Can I drop & go? – During Pre-School ‘Forest Sprite’ sessions, children need to be accompanied by an adult. For all other sessions, children must be school age (reception onwards) and be happy to be left. We look forward to be welcoming them.