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Forest School Principles

set forth by

Forest School Canada

1. FS takes place in a variety of spaces including local forests, creeks, meadows, prairie grasses, mountains, shorelines, rivers, tundras, natural playgrounds, city parks (open spaces) &/ or outdoor classrooms.

2. FS is a long-term process of regular & repeated sessions in the same natural space.

3. FS supports children & youth with a qualified & knowledgeable educator to identify, co-manage & navigate risk.  Opportunities of risk are seen as an integral part of children's learning & healthy development.

4. FS views children as innately competent, curious & capable learners.

5. FS honors Aboriginal & Indigenous (Native American) culture & history, as well as traditional ways of learning & living off the land.

6. FS supports children to develop an ethic of care towards nature & an understanding of themselves as part of the natural world.

7. FS is grounded in & supports building engaged, healthy, vibrant & diverse communities.

8. FS aims to promote the holistic development of children & youth.

9. FS allows for educators to navigate & balance their role as facilitator, guide, supporter & co-learner rather than "expert".

10. FS relies on loose, natural materials to support an open-ended, creative learning process.

11. FS recognizes that the process is as valued (or even more valued) than the product or outcome.

12. FS is led by a qualified Forest & Nature School Practitioner who is rooted in & committed to place-based education & FS pedagogical theory & practical skills.

13. FS calls for educators to utilize place-based, play-based, emergent, inquiry-based & experiential learning approaches toward connecting children to nature.


Sally Stevens is trained through Forest Schools Canada & was the first person from the United States to become a qualified FSC Forest School Practitioner.

SOL Forest School Director Sally Stevens with acclaimed author Richard Louv who wrote the ground-breaking book Last Child in the Woods (2005) which was responsible for accelerating the Nature and Forest School movement in the U.S. 

Sally read this book in 2006 and it changed how she parented, as well as how she approached teaching in early childhood education.

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