Join us for our Winter Wonderland Forest Family Event!

On Dec. 10th, 2022 we will be bringing all the winter forest fun to you and your family at the stunning grounds at Larchill Arcadian Gardens, Kilcock, Co. Kildare, find us here.

There are two session to choose from:-

Session 1: 9.30am to 12pm (arrive at 9.15am for registration)

Session 2: 12.45pm to 3.15pm (arrive at 12.30pm for registration)

Cost: Adults €20 per person, Kids €10 per person + booking fee. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

In the elements!

Forest School After School sessions Nov/Dec

We’re so excited to offer After School in the gorgeous grounds at Larchill Arcadian Gardens near Kilcock again this coming term.

People worry that the late seasons weather, or twilight is too much for kids but our experience is the opposite, they thrive on the sensory stimuli afforded by the shifts in the weather and changes that come with rhythm of the seasons.

We offer After School for age 5 to 10 years near Kilcock on Wednesdays from 3.30pm to 5.30pm weekly from after mid-term to 14th Dec.

So grab a headlight and get ready to send them off to have some excellent experiences. For booking and info see here.

Jon Cree Masterclasses

Forest School Ireland is so happy to welcome back our dear friend, Jon Cree for four Masterclasses this October, 2022 designed to meet the needs of our times.

Jon Cree, making a tree ladder during ‘play structures’

The four Masterclasses are:

  1. ‘Supporting Children through Anxiety and Trauma while in the outdoors’, Sat, 22nd Oct, 2022, 9.30am to 4.30pm.*
  2. ‘Therapeutic Story-work’, Sun, 23rd Oct, 2022, 9.30am to 4.30pm.*
  3. ‘Play Structures’, Tues, 25th Oct, 2022, 9.30am to 4.30pm.
  4. ‘Integrate health and well-being with core curriculum subjects alongside the natural world’, Wed, 26th Oct, 2022, 9.30am to 12.30pm.

* This course also requires attendees to do some extra online study prior to the course which includes watching three short webinars on ethos, a needs based approach and the autonomic nervous system and some nature based exercises to do beforehand.

Suitable for Forest School Leaders and trainees, educators and any adults interested in working with groups in the outdoors.

More about the tutor, Jon Cree…

Jon Cree has almost forty years’ experience as an environmental/earth educator and trainer. His passion is helping others ‘get in touch’ with the natural world through dynamic learning programmes and hand-on learning experiences. He has for many years worked in Forest School, particularly with learners who are often stressed by our education system, home circumstances or other situations that set them apart from ‘the mainstream’. And yet we all bring gifts to the communities we are part of.

During the pandemic signs of stress, anxiety and even trauma have become more prevalent and Jon has been diving deeper in ‘somatics’ and body based approaches.  He has been asked to run even more trainings on anxiety, stress and trauma, and how the more than human world and creative practises can support healthy nervous systems.  This is based on the many years he has worked with young people, especially adolescents.

Jon also had a passion for working with handtools and string since he could hold a knife.  This has greatly informed his nature education practise and he has been making greenwood ‘stuff’ with children and young people for the past 40 years.  

Details of Masterclasses with Jon Cree:

1. ‘Supporting Children through Anxiety and Trauma while in the outdoors’, Sat, 22nd Oct, 2022.*

Date: Sat, 22nd October, 2022, 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Venue: Larchill Arcadian Gardens, near Kilcock, Co. Kildare

Cost: €100 + booking fee. 10% discount when you book more than one class.

Slowing down

‘Everyday in a hundred small ways, our children ask ‘Do you hear me?’ ‘Do you see me?’ ‘Do I matter?’, their behaviour often reflects our response.’ L.R. Knost

This CPD training course shares knowledge and opens discussions about how outdoor learning practitioners and teachers can support children through times of anxiety and trauma.

Jon Cree, will call on current neurological understanding and share practical ideas to help you understand and support childrens’ emotional wellbeing in the natural world.

(Saturday is an introductory class. For further exploration join us for Sundays Masterclass ‘Therapeutic Storywork’, a smaller group format, practising approaches to working with therapeutic space in the outdoors.)

The course will cover:

● Creating a safe space ● Anxiety and trauma – what are they? How do we recognise?
● Recognising behaviour is communication.
● Working with sensory preferences
● Grounding and centering outdoors – Embodiment and integration
● Polyvagal theory and the five touchstones of somatic practice – how does the natural world inform these and our own regulation?
● Importance of co-regulation
● Working with stories and poetry outdoors in a therapeutic way
● Nature-based meditation
● Reflections and embodiment practices
This course will reaffirm your knowledge of the emotional benefits of working with groups in nature.

By the end of the course participants should have:
● Understanding of working with sensory preferences
● Knowledge of embodiment and integration practices
● Recognise the importance of working with themselves as well as their learners
● Understand the crucial role nature interactions can play in supporting emotional regulation
*This course also requires attendees to do some extra online study prior to the course which includes watching three short webinars on ethos, a needs based approach and the autonomic nervous system and some nature based exercises to do beforehand.

2. A deeper look ‘Therapeutic storywork with groups in and with the natural world’, Sun 23rd Oct, 2022

Date: Sun, 23rd October, 2022, 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Venue: Larchill Arcadian Gardens, near Kilcock, Co. Kildare

Cost: €100 + booking fee. 10% discount when you book more than one class.

In these times of growing anxiety and often unresolved trauma, contact and , importantly, deeper connection, to the more than human can provide essential respite and often resolution to some of the anxieties we all face. We are creatures of metaphor and the language of story can help us find meaning, hope and ways of working through life’s problems.

Hapazome in the forest gallery

This workshop will equip educators with some of the tools of working in a therapeutic way with nature based stories, storylines and storymaking. While this does not equip educators with counselling or therapy skills it will provide a framework for educators to work with their learners in a therapeutic and playful way through story in nature.
For people who have been on the ‘Reframing Challenging Behaviour course with Jon or the one day workshop ‘Anxiety and Trauma in the Outdoors’ (Saturday’s course), this course is an extension of these two courses but equally stands alone for those new to this area of work.

The day will cover:

●     the therapeutic benefits of storymaking and telling – what is trauma and anxiety and the role of story.

●     Exploring body sensation and emotion through some simple story exercises.

●     techniques of working with traditional tales and their meanings.

●     the key components of a ‘story’ to bring meaning to stressors in the human world.

●     using a non violent communication model when creating stories with the aid of natural world materials.

●     When and how to work with story – it’s all in the timings!

●     Ways of processing story in groups in the nature space – through various ‘emotional
playgrounds’ and ‘activities.

●     Creating and telling our own stories through nature based metaphors.

●     How to effectively work with pace, passion, place, pitch and tone – body and voice together.

●     Resources and stories (old and new) to lean into.

* This course also requires attendees to do some extra online study prior to the course which includes watching three short webinars on ethos, a needs based approach and the autonomic nervous system and some nature based exercises to do beforehand.

3. Introduction to Making Play with Rope and Wood in the outdoors including ‘play structures’, Tues 25th Oct, 2022

Date: Tues, 25th October, 2022, 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Venue: Larchill Arcadian Gardens, near Kilcock, Co. Kildare

Cost: €100 + booking fee. 10% discount when you book more than one class.

This is a one day course spent building your own play structures with rope and natural materials. 

The course is for educators wishing to be a little more adventurous with creative
play structures at their sites, building them out of wood and rope and combining these with the natural features at your site. We will be sharing techniques and know-how on building safe but slightly risky (!) structures with children that can enhance creativity and physical play at your forest school site or in the outdoor space you work in.

We will be looking at techniques for making:
● Rope swings, rope bridges, rope crawls and rope walks.
●     Combining wood with rope including simple rope ladders.
●     Making free standing wooden structures such as ladders and sculptures and
rope courses to climb and play on.
Including tips on:
●      How to minimise impact of structures on Forest school sites.
●      Keeping within the health and safety guidelines for safe construction and use of
natural structures.
We will look at basic tool work, knot and rope work in order to construct ladders, ‘climbing frames’, temporary rope swings and rope courses, as well as putting up and playing with strap-lines. The day will concentrate on how we work with young people in constructing basic structures that includes working with trees or if the trees in your own settings are limited how to construct features by working with A frames and ‘safe anchoring’. 
We will cover all the health and safety aspects of working with ‘constructed’ play structures and ropes, looking at risk benefit assessments and key requirements.
Aims, by the end of the course participants should:
● Skills and confidence to build safe natural play structures from wood, ropes and
natural features
●     Knot tying skills and techniques for building ladders and setting up rope courses
●     Knowledge on how to minimise impact of natural play structures on your site
●     Understanding of Health and Safety guidelines for safe construction and use of
natural structures

4. ‘Integrate health and well-being with core curriculum subjects alongside the natural world‘, Weds, 26th Oct, 2022

Date: Weds, 26th October, 2022, 9.30am to 12.30pm – half day course.

Venue: Larchill Arcadian Gardens, near Kilcock, Co. Kildare

Cost: €50 + booking fee. 10% discount when you book more than one class.

Bringing together rich nature connection experiences with the school curriculum.
A community of learners

Half-day course, 9.30am to 12.30pm.

Cost: €45 + booking fee. 10% discount when you book more than one class.

This morning workshop will include a number of experiences of rich contact with the natural world and is tailored for teachers and educators who are faced with the pressures of delivering the school curriculum who wish to experience an integrative, more holistic approach to learning. See how Forest School and outdoor learning experiences can be meaningfully integrated into the curriculum to achieve Wellbeing goals and encourage engagement with the national strategy on Education for Sustainable Development in Ireland.

Forest School and outdoor learning experiences can be integrative springboard experiences and we will show how real world learning can make the curriculum meaningful and healthful, with immersive activities that combine art, literacy, maths and science (and the rest!).

We’ve launched! Forest After School starts this new school term.

As Summer draws to a close, we’re harvesting the warm glow felt after a fantastic programme of Summer Camps and all the new friends we’ve made and reconnecting with old ones.

Forest School Ireland is delighted to start our new term of Wednesday Forest After-School starting this September 7th, 2022 to run for six weeks, followed by further blocks after the Autumn Mid-term break. We gratefully run our FS sessions in the stunning woodlands at Larchill Arcadian Gardens, near Kilcock, Co. Kildare, so worth the visit.

For all the After School programme info and booking, click here.

Wishing you Lughnasa abundance and a gentle harvest of all the year has brought so far. What are you planting with the seeds you have harvested from this year?

Le grá,

Team FSI

Autumn abundance with Forest School Ireland

Three FREE Forest School training opportunities with Marina Robb

For Teachers and Educators everywhere, register now for a FREE place on one of Marina Robb’s live workshops…

REGISTER: Wednesday 1st June 19:00 GMT:
7 Surprising Reasons You Should Use Outdoor Learning To Improve Your Students’ Development 
(….it’s not just about play!)
A FREE Training With Marina Robb

✅ Learn how to effectively communicate the value of outdoor learning to staff members
✅ Become confident about the learning, health and wellbeing potential of teaching outdoors
 Why Outdoor Learning is the basis of essential climate education
 How Outdoor Learning activities support mental health

Wednesday 8th June 19:00 GMT
5 Easy Summer Forest School Activities (…and how you can link your curriculum to Outdoor Learning)

A FREE Training With Marina Robb

✅ Ideas for time poor teachers who want to get their groups outside
✅ Starter ideas that can support your outdoor planning
✅ 5 simple outdoor activities to help support memorable and real life learning
✅ Ideas that are suitable for Early Years and beyond (most activities can be adapted to suit all ages)

Sunday 12th, Tuesday 14th and Thursday 16th June
Join Our Free 5 Day Facebook Challenge
Create 8 Inspiring, Outdoor Learning Session Plans that adapt to Any Season and Any Curriculum

7.00pm – 7.30pm

✅ You’ll create 8 inspiring outdoor/nature-based session plans for your chosen age groups
✅ You’ll develop sessions around core subjects, including English, Maths and History
At the same time, you’ll learn:
✅ How to adapt nature-based sessions to the season
✅ How to adapt nature-based sessions to your group and their needs
✅ How to work with your available resources and green space

IFSA Spring Webinar Series

I love these webinars as I just love learning from our network of talented Forest School folk.

Here’s all the information from the Irish Forest School Association:

Dear members and friends,
Thank you to those of you who have booked for our Spring webinars… it’s going to be busy! 
Apologies to anyone who experienced difficulties with making payments – the issue is now resolved. 
Information and the booking link is here again for your convenience:

The cost is €15 for the series for non-members. The webinars are free to current members (use the promo code that was emailed to you) . 

A zoom link will be sent on the day of each webinar. 
Please share the info with your networks as you see fit! 
Irish Forest School Association

Seen through the eyes of an artist…

I’m overjoyed and moved by the wonderful pieces of art Ruth Evans artist manifested for Forest School Ireland’s new logo. Check out her work on Instagram or order her fab artwork from her website.

She has also made a Forest Bathing with Ciara (me!) logo that makes me smile and my heart sing…..

Feeling so grateful, it’s been a long journey to find the right fit and so worth waiting for!

X Ciara

Forest After School at Larchill Arcadian Gardens, Kilcock

Did you hear we’ve moved?

I’m delighted to announce we will run our Wednesday’s After-School programme from our new venue near Kilcock, at Larchill Arcadian Gardens.

If you would like more information or to book check it out here!

I did it!
I did it at last!
Tree ladders, hazel benders and straw dens.

Free Heritage In Schools visits! Booking reopens from Monday!

Your Primary School can book book up to 3 visits with a Heritage in Schools specialist, one of which is Ciara Hinksman of Forest School Ireland, from this Monday, 13th September.

Visits will be FREE to schools and fully funded by the Heritage Council as a way
of supporting teachers and students at a time when the benefits of nature and the outdoors are at an all-time high.
What will be offered to schools from 13th September?

FREE in-person visits
• Schools may book up to three free visits each. The offer is subject to available
funding and it is recommended that you book early to avoid disappointment
• Visits will be fully-funded by the Heritage Council
• Visits will be outdoors only, regardless of weather

Hapazome in the forest gallery

How do I book a visit?
• Visit the Heritage in Schools website (Ciara Hinksman’s profile if you would like to book a Forest School-style session) and browse our Heritage Specialists for ‘in-person’ visits
• When you find a Specialist to suit your requirements contact the Specialist to
arrange a date (i.e. if booking Ciara email Then select ‘book a visit’ on that Specialist’s profile page
• You will receive an email with a reference number when your booking is approved
Please note the following before submitting a booking request:
• Visits will be delivered outdoors only and on the school premises. Requests for field
trips can be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Indoor visits will not be provided
under any circumstance until further notice
• School Covid-19 protocol for visitors musts be emailed to the Specialist in advance of
the visit. Our Specialists will strictly adhere to protocols in place
• Specialists will work with a maximum of 2 pods/30 children
• Face coverings will not be worn unless specifically requested by a school
• Specialists will accept the risk that visits may be cancelled due to inclement weather
but schools are required to give at least 5 working days’ notice for cancellation of
virtual visits, so that slots can be reallocated
Please appreciate that Specialists are self-employed and do not get paid for
cancelled visits – a late cancellation means loss of earnings
• A visit confirmation form will need to be completed and signed by the class teacher
after each visit
• Specialists will remain up-to-date with public health measures relating to COVID-19
Further information:
Please direct any questions you might have to Maria Walsh:
Phone: 086 083 4685 (between 10am and 3pm, Monday-Friday)

To book Ciara, call 086 3199515 or email her at to arrange a date.

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