We exist to help you
CONNECT the children in your life
with the awe and wonder of the natural world.
UPCOMING In-Person SPECIAL EVENT
Forest School Teacher Certificate plus Level I Naturalist Certificate Training
March 25-28, Jonesborough, Tennessee
Academic Credit offered through East Tennessee State University
Additional 2024 Teacher Certificate dates coming soon for Chattanooga, Indiana, Tennessee and Texas!Click HERE to Learn More about Special Events
On-line Forest School Certification Courses Now Enrolling!
Introduction to Forest School
3 LIVE sessions
For those who want to learn more about this global movement, the principles that define it, and the benefits it provides.
Forest School Teacher Training
Oct. 23 - Nov. 3
10 LIVE sessions
For those who want to deepen their understanding of child development and hone their teaching skills in nature.
Forest School Director Training
10 LIVE sessions
For those who serve or plan to serve as school leaders, heads of schools, school founders, and/or curriculum directors.
Caregiver & Child Program
7 Recorded Sessions, View at Your Own Pace
Inspired by LEAP Outside, this wonderful, one-of-a-kind resource is for those who wish to create a community-based infant/toddler/preK program. Includes four seasons of lesson plans, pre-recorded coaching sessions from LEAP founder Evie Wilkinson, and MANY, MANY downloadable shortcuts.
Since June of 2016, the Forest School Teacher Institute (FSTI) online and in-person certification courses have provided guidance and inspiration nearly 1,000 educators (homeschools, public and private schools, nature-based programs) in 44 states and ten countries.
FSTI training and certification is endorsed by the MSED in Outdoor Teacher Education at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee.
Reclaiming the roots of education!
- We believe in the holistic benefits of nature-based learning for children.
- We endeavor to heighten awareness of the importance of understanding child development in learning environments.
- We seek to contribute to sweet communion through networks of support, inspiration, and collaboration.
- Our methods include: forming authentic relationships, offering LIVE online certification courses, facilitating on-site training, providing affordable consulting services, organizing regional retreats, and helping envision sustainable site development plans.
"It all began when I visited my grandson at his preschool . . . "
In 2014 Dr. Jean Lomino retired from a long and passionate career as a
teacher and environmental education leader. Her retirement plans were
quickly transformed during a visit to her young grandson’s preschool.
While talking with the owner, Diana Meadows, she discovered they
shared the same dream of taking children’s learning into the forest. And
just like that, Wauhatchie Forest School was born. Within six years, that
little school of 12 children grew its enrollment to over 200 students on
four different sites, and Jean began her new mission as advocate for all
children having access to nature. She founded the Forest School Teacher
Institute which has sparked hundreds of graduates to take children
outside in communities around the world.
I was worried I wasn't qualified or did not have enough resources. I learned that forest school comes in all shapes and sizes, and you can personalize your little pocket of outdoor learning to suit your hopes and desires for the community around you. Five months after completing the certification, we opened our school. Without FSTI and the instruction and continued mentorship provided, we would not have been able to form such a great program. We have loved this experience for the community and for our family.
-- Shelly Tyler, (2020 FSTI Cohort) founder of Fiddlewood Farm and Forest School
Thank you so much for teaching us about forest kindergarten. We all enjoyed it so much! It helped us understand the importance of nature study. We learned to love and appreciate nature through this experience. We will remember all that we learned from you and use it to become teachers who inspire our students to love nature. --From your beloved students (2019) of Samyook University, South Korea
Our students are learning and growing in nature! These past two years have truly been some of the most wonderful experiences of my teaching career. I am looking forward to growing the forest school program here and also growing personally in my own love of nature. I want to thank you again for your training, guidance, and support.
-- Nickey Ankar (2020 FSTI Cohort) founding teacher of Forest Kindergarten at Lookout Valley Elementary School
The training and support provided by FSTI were essential to me in building my program! The training was comprehensive and gave me both inspiration and the practical knowledge that I needed to bring my vision into reality. After only six months from the start of my training, I was able to open my program at full capacity. I have also appreciated the ongoing support from FSTI staff in the form of updates, resources, and opportunities for collaboration with other forest school leaders. If you have an interest in outdoor learning and are thinking of applying to FSTI - Just do it! You will be happy you did!
-- Shannon Hodges (Spring 2022 Cohort) Founder & Director, Morning Song Forest School, Lawrence, Kansas
What the best and the wisest parents want for their own child, that must the community want for all children.
-- John Dewey, 1907