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 site 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!
Caregiver and Me Course
The course is not yet open, but coming very soon in Spring 2023!