1st Edition

The Essential Guide to Forest School and Nature Pedagogy

  • This format is currently out of stock.
ISBN 9780367425616
Published May 20, 2021 by Routledge
406 Pages 191 Color Illustrations

USD $26.95

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Book Description

This book is a complete guide to Forest School provision and Nature Pedagogy and it examines the models, methods, worldviews and values that underpin teaching in nature. Cree and Robb show how a robust Nature Pedagogy can support learning, behaviour, and physical and emotional wellbeing, and, importantly, a deeper relationship with the natural world. They offer an overview of what a Forest School programme could look like through the year.

The Essential Guide to Forest School and Nature Pedagogy provides ‘real-life’ examples from a variety of contexts, sample session plans and detailed guidance on using language, crafting and working with the natural world. This accessible resource guides readers along the Forest School path, covering topics such as:

  • the history of nature education
  • our sensory system in nature
  • Forest School ethos and worldview
  • playing and crafting in the natural world.

Guiding practitioners through planning for a programme, including taking care of a woodland site and preparing all the essential policies and procedures for working with groups and nature, this book is written by dedicated Forest School and nature education experts and is essential reading for settings, schools, youth groups, families and anyone working with children and young people.

Table of Contents


David Sobel


Chapter 1 Nature Pedagogy, Forest School Ethos and Valuing Nature

Chapter 2 History of Nature Education – the influence on the nature-based practice

Chapter 3 Nature Pedagogy – the teaching within a nature-centric worldview

Chapter 4 Nature Pedagogy Models

Chapter 5 Our Sensory System – how nature stimulates sensory development and integration

Chapter 6 Play and Nature – the ludic process and risky play

Chapter 7 The Brain, Body and Place

Chapter 8 Behavioural Theories – the underpinning of a healthy problem solving community

Chapter 9 Strategies for creating a healthy problem-solving community

Chapter 10 Planning a Nature-based Pedagogy

Chapter 11 Planning to Action

Chapter 12 Crafting – working with our hands in the natural world

Chapter 13 Journey with Plants and Animals – working with the ecological

Chapter 14 Nature’s Place in the World – teaching within a nature-centric worldview

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Jon Cree is an international trainer for the Institute for Earth Education and Founding Director of the Forest School Association, UK. He worked at Bishops Wood Centre, Worcestershire County Council’s award-winning environmental centre, helping establish Forest School nationally. He now works as a self-employed nature-based trainer and educator.  

Marina Robb is Founder and Managing Director of Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC (www.circleofliferediscovery.com) and The Outdoor Teacher Ltd (www.theoutdoorteacher.com). She is a leading author and practitioner in the outdoor sector, an international trainer in the design and delivery of nature-based experiences and an advocate for the integration of environmental, education and health and well-being services.


"This is a stimulating and important book. It bridges the philosophical and practical and celebrates the importance of connection, play and discovery. Forest Schools are one of the most exciting and dynamic areas of nature connection in the world today and this book will help the movement to blossom further." - Tristan Gooley, author of Natural Navigator

"I really enjoyed reading this. It is a wonderful mix of all the important things about being a Forest School leader and will make a great handbook. It provides a launch-pad into a myriad of eco-avenues." - Sara Knight, Forest School author and Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University, UK

"A very timely reminder of the importance of engaging with and valuing nature by engaging and enthusing current and future generations through Forest School and Nature Pedagogy approaches. A book to remind us of the vital role of nature in supporting learning and development, and the wonder, awe and interest it can inspire in all of us. Coupled with this are lots of case studies and practical examples and tips to improve understanding and provide ideas for all those who want to learn and improve their practice." - Liz O’Brien, Head of Social and Economic Research, Forest Research

"This book overflows with great ideas and excellent advice. It also offers a thorough pedagogical rationale for the work. Buy it. Read it. Expand your practice. Before long this book will be your go-to source." - Dr Alida Gersie, writer and author

"This book is an inspired, timely, and great resource for those who want to help young children love and care for the Earth. The  Guide to Forest School and Nature Pedagogy contains everything a leader will need to plan and creatively craft life-changing outdoor experiences for young children." - Joseph Bharat Cornell, author of Sharing Nature, Deep Nature Play, and founder of Sharing Nature Worldwide

"Marina Robb and Jon Cree are extremely experienced practitioners and two of the foremost teachers of Forest school approaches in the UK. Their book offers a broad overview of the theory and a deep dive into the practical realities of nature based learning from early years to adulthood. Many practitioners concerned about the health wellbeing and development of children will find it both rigorous and relevant: it would be a useful part of the training of any mental health practitioner or therapist working with young people. Interested parents will undoubtedly be inspired too. Robb and Cree show how Forest schools offer an alternative and a complementary approach not just in education but in health care too, and they offer nuggets of wisdom to the crucial debate about how to equip future generations for a more vital and healthy relationship with the natural world." - Alan Kellas (MBBS MRcPsych), consultant psychiatrist and representative for nature approaches, Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK

"Jon Cree and Marina Robb offer readers a deep, deep dive into the ideas that have shaped their seven decades at the forefront of outdoor learning. Drawing on neuroscience, play theory, dark green ecology and behavioural psychology, the book blends insight, reflection, research and practical advice. The result is full of wisdom and compassion, grounded in a profoundly spiritual conception of our connections with each other and the biosphere." - Tim Gill, play activist, researcher, author and independent scholar