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The Forest School


"We define Forest School as an educational ethos and practice that centres the Land and the child-at-play. Children and educators build a relationship with the Land through regular and repeated access to the same outdoor space over an extended period of time. Educators support learning through a pedagogical framework that is rooted in place and play, directed and inspired by the child (emergent curriculum), and driven by a process of inquiry."

Child and Nature Alliance of Canada

Mission and Goals

Mission:  To provide accessible innovative outdoor education that is play-based and child-led.​

Goals:  Our dedicated early childhood educators and committed parents strive to:

  • Cultivate an early love of nature and interest in all aspects of their own local natural surroundings.

  • Foster our students’ competence, self-confidence, and eagerness to safely explore and enjoy the outdoors.

  • Provide pre-school children with an opportunity to meet and enjoy their peers and to learn how to operate in a group setting with respect, cooperation, patience, and listening skills.

  • Ensure a relevant and sustainable future for the school through relationships with parents, other organizations, and the broader community.

  • Promote among parents and the broader community the notion that being active and taking supported risks outside is critical to children’s social, physical and emotional development and prepares them for learning throughout life. 

Unleashing Your Child's Potential in Nature's Classroom

Transformative Learning for Life: At Chelsea Forest School, we don't just prepare children for kindergarten; we equip them with lifelong skills. Picture your child thriving through cooperation, teamwork, independence, empathy, resilience, and self-confidence, all nurtured in an engaging, active learning environment.

Homeschoolers' Social Haven: Our school adds a vibrant dimension to homeschooling, offering rich social interactions and peer connections that enrich your child’s educational journey.

Fostering Physical Well-being: Watch your child’s physical fitness soar in our stimulating outdoor activities, promoting health and vitality.

Year-Round Nature Immersion: We champion outdoor play in all seasons, instilling a love and respect for the environment and teaching adaptability.

Expert Guidance, Safe Exploration: Our certified forest school educators and trained preschool development experts craft a child-directed, play-based curriculum. We encourage children to explore and expand their boundaries in a safe, carefully assessed environment.

Personalized Attention: With high adult-to-child ratios, your child receives personalized support, ensuring a rich and attentive educational experience.

Community at Heart: With over 50 years of community involvement, we understand the value of togetherness. Parental involvement isn’t just welcomed; it’s integral to our ethos.

Risk Assessment & Forest School Play: Safety First!

Risk Assessment

At Chelsea Forest School, rigorous risk assessments are integral to every activity, from stick play to tree climbing. We evaluate each activity's potential risks, categorize them as high, medium, or low, and then implement tailored safety measures to ensure all activities are adjusted to a "low" risk level. Activities that cannot be safely managed are not permitted.


Key Safety Measures for Our Activities:

Stick Play:

  • Benefits: Develops motor skills, coordination, teamwork, and creative thinking.

  • Safety: We teach the 'Blood Bubble' rule for safe space, limit stick sizes, ensure close supervision, and enforce rules against hitting people or running with sticks.

Tree Climbing:

  • Benefits: Enhances physical strength, core stability, and promotes self-awareness.

  • Safety: Supervised climbing only, tree health checks, clothing guidelines, branch strength assessment, a 3-meter height limit, and communication skills for safe climbing.

Tool Use:

  • Benefits: Builds muscle coordination and risk assessment skills.

  • Safety: Designated supervised areas, use of safety gloves, the 'Blood Bubble' rule, and gradual introduction to tool use based on individual child's ability.


  • Benefits: Teaches fire respect, builds confidence, and enhances practical skills.

  • Safety: Fires are conducted with strict supervision, safety boundaries, and adherence to fire regulations. Children are taught fire safety and respect, with a focus on maintaining a safe distance.

These measures are part of our commitment to providing a secure and enriching learning environment, where children can safely explore and engage with nature.

A Day at Chelsea Forest School

Each day begins at home base as the children arrive and parents check in with the teachers. The children are invited into play by a selection of loose parts put out for the morning. Once most children have arrived and settled in, we tidy up the toys and have circle time. At circle we sing songs, share news, play games and make plans for the day. Where shall we play today? Is there anything in particular that you would like to do? (make a fort in the forest, go sledding at Sandy beach, search for tadpoles in the pond etc. ).

After circle we have our bathroom routine and eat our snack and then it’s off for more play in whatever location the children have chosen. 

Full day programs pause for lunch at noon which includes some quieter play, books and crafts once their lunch is eaten. 

Then a second location is chosen for the afternoon and off we go! 

The exact routine varies with the season, the weather, the class and the children’s interests but each day will include lots of play, a variety of learning opportunities, social interaction, risk assessment, songs, stories and gratitude while connecting with the land. 

We're excited to meet you!

If you're curious about us... here's a little more information to get to know us better.

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