Websites worth Visiting
Children and Nature Network http://www.childrenandnature.org/
This network was established following the huge success of the book “Last Child in the Woods” by journalist, Richard Louv. It is a tremendous site for international news, articles and research.
Creative STAR Learning Company www.creativestarlearning.co.uk. Here there are free downloads in the resources section which includes outdoor activities and international case studies
Forestry Commission www.forestry.gov.uk/
This website has many downloadable activities which can be used by school teachers and youth leaders. The Forestry Commission website also has many other parts including a library of documents relating to research including work on natural play in woodlands.
Forest Education Initiative http://www.foresteducation.org/index.php
This organisation is responsible for overseeing the Forest School activities and events in Scotland. There are local groups in different parts of the country providing small grants and support to local organisations wishing to undertake woodland projects. The website has lots of information and downloadable resources.
Grounds for Learning www.gflscotland.org.uk This is the Scottish school grounds charity. By becoming a member, schools can access lots of advice about school grounds development and outdoor learning. There is a specific Early Years membership and to make the most of this, settings should download the resources in the members only part of the website.
Growing Schools http://www.growingschools.org.uk/
This is a website designed to support schools in England and Wales in getting children outside and beyond their school grounds. Lots of useful resources for all ages.
John Muir Award http://www.jmt.org/jmaward-home.asp
The John Muir Award is an environmental award scheme focused on wild places. It encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment, in a spirit of fun, adventure and exploration.
Learning Teaching Scotland: Taking Learning Outdoors www.ltscotland.org.uk/outdoorlearning/
Outdoor learning has a dedicated area on the LTS website. It gives useful updates on what is happening at a national level and case studies to inspire teachers.
Nature Action Collaborative for Children http://www.worldforumfoundation.org
This is an international group of educators who are dedicated to strengthening children’s connection to nature. It is part of the World Forum Foundation which is an international early education group aimed sharing ideas between a wide range of interested professionals.
Norfolk County Council Forest Schools
Norfolk County Council frequently adds material to its forest schools section and includes activities and plans for long term use of woods for playing and active learning.
Royal Horticultural Society http://www.rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening/default.aspa
Practical gardening advice for schools. Includes advice on harmful plants, should this be a concern for you.
Scottish Natural Heritage Teaching Space http://www.snh.org.uk/teachingspace/ provides a site search facility, advice on planning a trip to a natural site, follow up ideas and lots of activities to do in different habitats for all school aged children.
Scottish Natural Heritage produce the following materials for the Early Years which can be downloaded for free from their website,www.snh.org.uk :
• Playing for Keeps - A compact book for Playgroup Leaders and Nursery Teachers full of fun, easy and inexpensive ideas for introducing the wonders of nature to pre-school children.
• Go Wild With Your Child - This series of pocket sized booklets has been published by Scottish Natural Heritage for parents and carers of pre-school children. The booklets provide you with a list of places in each area where pre-schoolers can be introduced to the wonders of nature.
• The Wee Green School Pack – First published over 15 years ago and still a useful starting point. Based upon the experiences of High School Yards Nursery in Edinburgh.
Woodland Trust Nature Detectives Clubwww.naturedetectives.org.uk
This website has lots of interactive games and activities to help children learn about all aspects of woods.
Nature and Education in the Outdoors Booklist
Nature Activity Books
AUTUMN Nature Activities for Children by Irmgard Kutsch & Brigitte Walden (2005) ISBN978-086315-495-6
This is one in a series of four seasonal books which are based on practical experience from a children's nature and garden centre in Germany. They are based on the Rudolf Steiner philosophy.
Camp Out!: The Ultimate Kids Guide by Lynn Brunelle (2007) ISBN 978-0761141228
Awesome! This is a great addition for forest school leaders as well as anyone who takes children camping or even into the outdoors to play. It is an American book but the ideas and enthusiasm transfer well.
Everything Kids Nature Book by Kathiam Kowalski (2004) ISBN 978-1580626842
An American book which is full of interesting information on nature around the world. Some sensible advice too for outdoor activities.
I Love Dirt by Jennifer Ward (2008) ISBN 978-1-59030-535-5
This book provides 52 simple and straightforward nature activities to do outside with children, all year round. Useful if you lack confidence in this area. Some nice ideas.
I’m Bored! by Suzy Barratt and Polly Beard (2003) ISBN 978-0747563211
How to bring childhood alive! Whilst not all activities are outdoors, they are very child friendly and good fun, such as putting on “Seaweed Wigs” at the beach.
Nature’s Playground by Fiona Danks & Jo Schofield (2006) ISBN 978-0711224919
A coffee table style book with substance. There are beautiful photographs and plenty of ideas. An excellent general book if you need just one nature book.
Sharing Nature with Children by Joseph Cornell (1999, 9th Edition) Exley Publications ISBN 978-1883220730
Sharing Nature with Children 2 by Joseph Cornell (1999) Dawn Publications ISBN 978-1883220877
Both books are classics and have stood the test of time. They are used by outdoor educators around the world to develop sensory awareness of the natural world.
The Little Book of Outdoor Play by Sally Featherstone (2007) ISBN 1902233743
The Little Book of Outside in All Weathers by Sally Featherstone (2007) ISBN 1904187684
The Little Book of the Seasons by Sally Featherstone (2005) ISBN 978-1-905019-34-2
Good value books which are packed with simple ideas that work with young children.
Useful Gardening Books for Schools
Getting Started in Permaculture (2nd Edition) by Ross and Jenny Mars (2006) ISBN 978-1856230353
For any gardening project, this book is amazing. It gives you lots of ideas how to re-use household items in the garden. There are lots of clear illustrations to guide you.
Growing Naturally – A Teacher’s Guide to Organic Gardening by Maggi Brown (1996) ISBN 1-85741-022-X. Available from Southgate Publishers www.southgatepublishers.co.uk
A very practical book for all schools with clear links to science and home economics.
Muck and Magic by Jo Readman (1995) ISBN 978-855 327576
A fantastic book for primary schools. It’s aimed at children, but the information is ideal for teachers too who need to see how gardening fits into the curriculum.
Gardening with Children (Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guides) by Monika Hannemann (2007) ISBN 978-1-889538-30-3
This comprehensive, friendly, American book is just as useful for Scottish teachers. Lots of simple ideas to grow plants and relates this to wider ecological issues.
Practical Books for Educators
The Early Years Curriculum: a view from outdoors by Gloria Callaway (2005) ISBN 1-84312 345-2
A friendly account of a forest kindergarten project in Cornwall and useful for early years’ practitioners who want to take their children into natural habitats.
Forest Schools and outdoor learning in the early years Sarah Knight (2009) Sage Publications Ltd ISBN 978-1847872777
An book for early years’ staff about the forest school approach and the benefits it offers young children.
Healthy, Active and Outside! By Janice Flier (2008) ISBN 9780415436526
This book is helpful for settings who wish to develop their outdoor activities beyond their outdoor area. It is a good introduction to the benefits of a forest schools approach yet meeting the expectations of formal education in terms of planning and assessment.
Nature Lover’s Book by Enid Blyton (1944) ISBN 978-0237535681
If you are an Enid Blyton fan, then this is a lovely book full of stories, poetry and information about the natural world. It's dated in style and content but nevertheless useful especially for adults who feel they do not know much about nature.
Books and publications for reading and reflecting
Adventures in Nature by Children in Scotland (2008) ISBN 978-1-901589-78-8
This book describes the inspirational nursery project which took place in Verona. Using the local natural environment and the children’s ideas and interests, they embarked upon a series of adventures, looking for castles in the woods, exploring caves and even rafting down a river.
Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv (2005) ISBN 978-1565-125223
This bestselling book has started the growth of a movement dedicated to reconnecting children with nature. It is a worthwhile read for any adult who works with children.
Nature Play – Simple and Fun Ideas for All compiled by Roger Worthington 2008 Crown Copyright. Available fromwww.forestry.gov.uk/england
A very useful book for those who want to create natural play areas using material material.
No Fear - Growing up in a Risk Averse Society by Tim Gill (2007) ISBN978-1-903080-08-5
Whilst not about nature, this book is valuable for the debate about our society’s approach to risk and play outdoors. A very readable, interesting and informative book.
Northern Lights: Building better childhoods in Norway by Bronwyn Cohen and Rosemary Milne (2007) Children in Scotland ISBN 978-1-901589-63-4
A book about children’s services in one part of Norway. It covers the importance and need for nature from a very young age and therefore an important resource.
Nurture Through Nature by Claire Warden (2007) ISBN 978-1-906116-01-9
A beautifully illustrated book which explains the link between the natural elements and child development. Available from Mindstretchers www.mindstretchers.co.uk
The Creative School by Bob Jeffrey and Peter Woods (2003) ISBN 978-0415-282154
This is a descriptive book about Coombes School in Berkshire which has won international recognition for its creative values. The school grounds are remarkable, with the children keeping sheep and raising chickens. There are wild places and quiet spaces.
There are many books available on all aspects of learning outdoors and for forest school activities. Several listmanias have been set upon the Amazon website which can help you decide which might be worth purchasing:
Early years and outdoor learning
Outdoor learning activities with children
Books for forest school leaders
Plants, gardens and schools
Mindstretchers publish their own books which can be purchased from their website www.mindstretchers.co.uk
The Institute of Education have several books by Steve Van Matre which provide structured sequences of outdoor activitieswww.eartheducation.org.uk