There are plenty of forest school settings throughout the UK, and some of those run as forest school nurseries.
These forest school nurseries are a bit different from the standard daycare or educational nursery, as they are run by qualified forest school leaders who also have a background in childcare and child education. Forest schools allow children to learn in a more natural environment, without the constraints of a classroom or a fence around their school’s paved play area.
Below, you’ll find a list of forest school nurseries in the UK that are all recognised by the forest school association.
Ashton House Nursery, Chester
Outdoor learning is the heart of Ashton House Nursery. An interesting part of their objectives is that they teach all of their children to ride a bike during their time at the nursery. Ashton house can be found in Cheshire in Ashton Hayes.
Tel: 01829 751353
Grace’s Day Nursery, Kent
Run by Joanna Evans, who is a qualified doctor working in paediatric medicine, Grace’s Day Nursery is located in Kent. This forest school nursery is run from a 17th century Manor House in Sidcup, with a goal that encourages an appreciation for the natural environment.
Tel: 020 8300 7460
Gaggle Nursery, Crayford
With a daily forest school that takes place on the nursery’s own grounds in Grayford, Gaggle Nursey is a place with plenty of outdoor space and charm. The nursery is run from an extended house that has been converted into the perfect forest school base and is just two minutes from Crayford Station on foot.
Tel: 01322 836541
Grayswood Nursery and forest school, Surrey
Encouraging exploration and fun, Grayswood is in Surrey near Haslemere. This dynamic school combines traditional learning and the teachings of forest schools to create an amazing nursery experience. Their approach is to promote fearlessness and confidence in their children.
Tel: 01428 658 931
Haven Nursery School, Gosport
There are three main learning areas in Haven Nursery School. The Nest, which creates a safe place for young children under three years of age; The Hive, which promotes stimulating experiences in a caring environment; and their Forest School, which teaches their students about outdoor learning in an innovative way. This nursery is located in Gosport in Hampshire.
Tel: 01329 232095
Jigsaw Curzon House Day Nursery, Chester
Found on the grounds of Wrexham Road’s Holiday Inn, Jigsaw Curzon House Day Nursery offers full-time and part-time places for little ones. Jigsaw is a unique nursery with several purpose-built rooms and areas, including a place for their own forest school activities.
Tel: 01244 675712
Little Rays Forest School, Surrey
Little Rays Pre-School offers two outdoor forest school sessions a week, where children and staff all take a walk into the woods together. They run around, complete activities, and purely get back to nature and the dirt that children love to get messy in. Little Rays also offers soft play areas and can easily cater to your and your child’s needs.
Little Woodland Explorers, Malton
Situated in Malton in North Yorkshire, Little Woodland Explores is run from Uplands House. The school has a specific group aimed at children under five who can adventure into the forest with their parents or carers. The sessions are completed at Castle Gardens in Malton for two hours on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Tel: 01653 696232
Earthtime for All, Elgin
A bit of a different listing, Earthtime for All is run by Natalie Campbell and isn’t listed as a formal nursery. Rather, it’s a charity that caters to young children that use the forest school ethos. There are sessions that you can sign your child up to, which take place during term time. They are a full forest school nursery, rather than a nursery that has a forest school approach. Elgin is quite far north, at the far end of Scotland.
Tel: 01343 200206
South Hills Nurseries, various locations
South Hills believe that each child is unique and should be treated as such. Children are free to explore as they wish during forest school activities, and the school advocates for letting children learn in their own way during these outdoor sessions. There are several base camps and a campfire site within the woodland that surrounds the nursery.
Tel: 01722 744971
Squirrels Tabernacle Nursery, Beaconsfield
Squirrels Nursery offers both forest school activities and farm days. Both are hosted in the nearby Grange Farm, which is a location that has golden fields and friendly chickens that the children can feed. The addition of farmland in a forest school programme gives leaders many more opportunities to help children grow.
Tel: 01494 670196
St Mary’s Pre-School, Horsham
St Mary’s promote learning in a creative way. Their forest school aims to support their students in a more holistic and balanced way when combined with traditional pre-school schooling. They were the first Early Years school to be awarded status as a recognised forest school provider.
Tel: 01403 283785
The Little Lane Nursery, Stamford
Little Lane Nursery is run by two individuals that have Level 3 forest school qualifications. The nursery has its own outdoor learning site with a forest and a fenced-off pond, as well as an old stable that has been converted to be used as a base. All children in the nursery have access to their forest school programme and activities.
Tel: 01780 752211
Pear Tree Infant and Walbrook Nursery School, Derby
The first school in Derbyshire to gain forest school provider status, Pear Tree Infant and Wallbrook Nursery School offers introductory sessions for their two-year-olds, who can have their own “mini woods” activities together. They’ve done everything from making mud monsters to celebrating a family day in the woods.
Tel: 01332 767244
Does your little one attend a forest school nursery? Let us know in the comments below what you think about forest school nurseries.