Frequently Asked Questions

 There are several forest school training programs offered in the United States, Canada, and England. How do I decide in which one to enroll?

We encourage you to think about what you personally need, what you want to walk away with, and what aligns most with your situation. People who take our courses walk away with three things: 1) a network of like-minded people who are trying to increase the number of hours children spend in nature, 2) a deeper understanding of learning, child development, and how nature provides context for all learning, and 3) a heightened awareness of the need for nature in the life of a child. In terms of curriculum, we value the concept of emergent curriculum often associated with Montessori, Reggio, unschools, free-play, and Waldorf. There are abundant resources online for curriculum, so we emphasize a deep dive into how to discern, design, and assess your impact. We like to say we best serve courageous, child advocates. Plan on walking away inspired and enriched if you choose FSTI.

May I skip the Introduction to Forest School course and move straight to the teacher course? May I skip the teacher course and move straight to the director course?

The introduction course builds a common vocabulary and defines the principles that are foundational to all the courses we offer. The teacher course contains information relevant to the director course. The sequence is critical to frontloading content and also to the application of what you learn. Exceptions are occasionally made, but we believe the sequence is to your advantage and should be taken in order. Once you take the intro course, you will know if you want to invest in the other courses. The content you find there will help you as you take the next level. 

What if I have no education background and hardly know anything about nature?

We believe everyone (especially parents) have an education background. No university degree is needed to know how to engage with a child and provide meaningful learning experiences. We also believe everyone is wired to connect with nature. You may not have all the words or layers of experiences, but if you are feeling prompted and hear a call to nature, you are more than qualified to begin finding your pathway there. We will help!

Is the training in person or virtual?

We offer both. Our online courses are hosted as live Zooms. We also provide custom-designed training (online and in person) for organizations with six or more teachers. We also host regional retreats. Watch for our announcements under the Events link above. 

Are the classes recorded lessons?

We conduct LIVE Zoom sessions so that you can interact with the instructors and a cohort of students. Some recorded sessions are available in the case of illness or unexpected absences. Plan on participating LIVE!

What time of day are the classes held?

The classes are held each weekday from 6:00-7:30 PM ET.

Will I receive a certificate when the course is completed? If so, how long will the certificate be valid?

Once course requirements are fulfilled, you will receive a certificate of completion endorsed by Southern Adventist University in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The training certification is valid for life. Individual leadership classes as well as year-long courses of study are offered to enrich, inspire, and deepen the impact of your work.

Does FSTI approach this training from a religious perspective?

We believe there is a spiritual connection to nature, but people of all walks of life participate in our courses. It is not our goal to tell you how to approach forest school, it is our goal to help you find your way in the community you serve. Forest school principles are applicable in all belief systems. We believe children benefit cognitively, socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually by time spent in nature. 

Are scholarships or discounts available?

Scholarships are available if you have definitive plans to open a forest school and have financial need. Discounts are provided if multiple members of your school participate in training. On-site training is also an affordable option for some schools that have ten or more teachers participating.¬† Contact Dr. Jean Lomino with questions or for more information. [email protected]

How do I apply/pay for the training?

You can download the¬†enrollment form by clicking on the Enrollment Form button below. Once you complete the form, send it to¬†[email protected]. Payment options are listed at the bottom of the enrollment form.¬†

What is the enrollment process?

Our Director of Enrollment, Julie Farmer, will email you additional information upon receipt of your completed enrollment form and payment. You will also receive an additional email with the class schedule and Google Classroom sign-in information one or two days prior to the first day of class. Feel free to reach out to Julie at anytime during the process: [email protected]

What books are your instructors reading?

There are many that you will hear them cite during the online courses. Here are our top 50!

David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

Byrd Baylor, I'm in Charge of Celebrations

Byrd Baylor, The Way to Start a Day

Byrd Baylor, Everyone Needs a Rock

Wendell Berry, Life is a Miracle

Jane Broderick and Seong Bock Hong, From Children's Interests to Children's Thinking

Judith Campbell, Water Color Painting on the Trail

Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

Nicholas A. Christakis, Blueprint

Joseph Cornell, Sharing Nature with Children

Joseph Cornell, Sharing the Joy of Nature 

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow

Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit

Mark Elbroch, Mammal Tracks and Sign

Peter Gray, Free to Learn

Gillian Judson, A Walking Curriculum

David Haskell, The Forest Unseen

David Haskell, The Songs of Trees

Hannah Hinchman, A Trail Through Leaves

Edith Holden, The Country Diary of an Edwardian Woman

Wes Jackson, Becoming Native to this Place

Peter H. Kahn, Jr, Stephen R. Kellert, Children and Nature

Erin K. Kenny, Forest Kindergartens the Cedarsong Way

Sara Knight, Forest School and Outdoor Learning in the Early Years

Alfie Kohn, Punished by Rewards

John Muir Laws and Emilie Lygreen, How to Teach Nature Journaling

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There

Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder

Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

Michael Pollen, Second Nature

Peter H. Reynolds, I am Yoga

Peter H. Reynolds, I am Peace

Juliet Robertson, Dirty Teaching

Deborah Schein, PhD, Inspiring Wonder, Awe and Empathy

David Sobel, Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart of Nature Education

David Sobel, Nature Preschools and Forest Kindergartens

David Sobel, Childhood and Nature

Clair Stevens, The Growing Child

Hyemeyohsts Storm, Seven Arrows

Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth, Keeping a Nature Journal

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Gathering Moss

Margaret Wheatley, Perseverance

Florence Williams, The Nature Fix

Jon Young, Coyote's Guide to Connecting with Nature

Jon Young, What the Robin Knows

The Outdoor Learning Store Canada, Naturalist Curiosity 2nd Edition


Click here to download Enrollment Form!