Upcoming In-Person, Place-Based Events

On-site Studio Sessions

with Dr. Jean Lomino

Two-day Immersions

July - December 2024

Chattanooga, Tennessee

More Details Here!

In-Person Forest School Director Training 

Three-day Intensive

July 24-26, 2024

Chattanooga, Tennessee

More Info Here!

 Save the Date

In-Person Forest School Teacher Training

October 16-18, 2024

Held at Johnston Woods, home of Woodsong Forest School McDonald, Tennessee

Learn More Here!

Forest School Director Training

July 24 - 26, 2024

CHATTANOOGA TENNESSEE

Join us in Chattanooga Tennessee for the first-ever, In-Person Director Certificate Training!  Our journey will begin at Lookout Lake Farm, the birthplace of Wauhatchie Forest School. Each day we will explore forest schools in the region that were inspired by this small beginning. Training will provide firsthand knowledge and skills to help you plan, develop and manage programs, as we meet with Forest School founders, directors, and teachers as well as community leaders who currently partner with Forest Schools. And perhaps the greatest benefit will be sweet communion with a cohort of like-minded people from around the country.

Participant Benefits:

  • 24 hours of training which includes presentations, discussions, and individual consultations
  • Certificate of Completion for Forest School Director Course of Study
  • Follow-up Zoom Meeting to share Synthesis Projects and collaborate
  • Online collection of templates for Forest School Management and many other resources
  • This event is limited to only 12 participants.

FOREST SCHOOLS WE WILL VISIT:

Woodsong Forest School with Founder and Director Bonnie Cretton, Cleveland, Tennessee

Wauhatchie Forest School with Founder Jean Lomino and Head of School Amanda Martin, Chattanooga, Tennessee 

Red Bank Elementary School, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Nature Kin Farm & Forest School at Crabtree Farms with Founder and Director Jean Lomino and Assistant Director Stephanie Lomino, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Optional Group Activity: Friday, July 26 @3PM "See Chattanooga from the beautiful Tennessee River. The best sightseeing tour in all of Chattanooga." Purchase tickets here: The Southern Belle Riverboat

TUITION: $950 Includes all sessions and the evening meal on 7/25. 

Meals and Lodging: Participants are responsible for all lodging and meals (except for evening meal 7/25). Rooms are available at our main site, Lookout Lake Farm, 3408 Elder Mountain Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee. For rates and to reserve accommodations please mail: [email protected]

Other lodging is close by: TRAVELOCITY

Enrollment is now closed. If you intended to enroll, please send an email to [email protected] to check for availability of a spot.¬†

Payment in FULL is due at the time of registration. Your registration will be confirmed only after payment has been received. Full refunds are offered if requested two weeks prior to the session. Upon receipt of registration fee, participants will receive a welcome letter with more training details including a detailed schedule, supply and gear list and more.

Questions regarding payment and/or the enrollment process should be directed to [email protected].¬†

All other questions should be directed to¬†[email protected].¬†¬†

Thank you!

Fall Forest School Teacher Certificate Training 

October 16-18, 2024

Woodsong Forest School @ Johnston Woods
McDonald, TN

 

Join a cadre of like-minded folks for three days filled with the stunning fall foliage and weather in East Tennessee. Dr. Jean Lomino, Founder and President of Forest School Teacher Institute, and Bonnie Cretton, Founder and Director of Woodsong Forest School have teamed up to lead the first FS Teacher Certificate Training at Johnston Woods in McDonald, Tennessee.  

This three-day training intensive will provide: observations of children, preschool through elementary school engaged in emergent learning at Woodsong Forest School. Participants will gain FS skills, knowledge, and inspiration by learning about Observation and Assessment Strategies; Flow Learning; Child-directed Emergent Curriculum in Nature-based Programs; Introducing Cultural Themes in Forest School; Practicing Mindfulness and Nature Journaling.  

Experienced naturalists will guide participants during nature-immersive activities among 300 scenic acres of woodlands, meadows, creeks, and lakes. General ecology, hands-on practice developing observation skills, and learning field identification of local flora and fauna will be among the topics studied. Guest instructors include Dr. Carl Swafford, Professor Emeritus at Southern Adventist University, and founder of the MSED in Outdoor Education Program, along with several others TBA.   

PARTICIPANT BENEFITS:

  • Introduction to Forest School online course FREE with this registration; should be completed before the October training.
  • Practice observation and assessment strategies at Woodsong Forest School
  • Receive a FSTI Certificate of Completion for 32 hours of FS Teacher Training¬†(includes Intro to FS course)
  • Network and gain inspiration from attendees from all around the United States
  • Gain the many benefits nature provides-- relax, be mindful and experience wonder and awe!

TRAINING FEE:  $955  Includes 3 days and 2 nights of lodging, plus 8 meals

$100 Early Bird Discount, apply by 8/31/24

ENROLLMENT DEADLINE:  October 9, Maximum participants:  24

Click here to reserve your lodging: COMING SOONl

Participants will receive a welcome letter when registration and payment are completed, including a detailed schedule, supply and gear list, and more.

Enrollment Form COMING SOON.

Forest School Studio Sessions

In-person with Dr. Jean Lomino

in Chattanooga, Tennessee

  • How do I expand my forest school program to older children?
  • What are the best ways to document and present the benefits of FS for parents, donors and community?
  • How can FS be integrated into a public school setting?
  • How can I build greater awareness of forest school in my community?
  • What site or program enhancements could I add to my forest school?
  • Should I consider expanding the reach of my forest school with multiple locations?¬†
  • What are the pros and cons of using sites on public land, private land?

If these are some of the questions you have been asking, consider joining Dr. Jean Lomino for a Forest School Studio Session in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Explorations and conversations highlight these personal and transformative experiences all set in the place where Jean started her own forest school journey.  As you walk the scenic acres of Lookout Lake, where Wauhatchie School was born, she will share the story about how this little school influenced nature-based learning throughout the Chattanooga area and beyond. You will gain inspiration and a renewed sense of purpose visiting public and private Forest Preschools, Kindergartens and programs for older students along with meeting school founders, principals and teachers. 

Tuition:  $989 individual | $949 group rate per participant (2 or more)

Timeframe: 2 full days

Group Size:  Each session capped at 6 participants

Tuition also includes one of the following options:

  • Online Introduction to Forest School Course of Study
  • Two online Forest School Teacher or Director classes
  • Two hours individual zoom consultation(s) with Jean Lomino

January - December 2024

2024 Tentative Schedule (other dates may be considered for groups of 3-6 from the same school or organization)

July 18-19 - BOOKED

August 29-30 - 10% Summer Savings discount

September 12-13

October 10-11

November 7-8

December 19-20

"The June 2024 studio session with Dr. Jean Lomino was an inspiring and informative experience. The variety of Forest Schools in the Chattanooga area is so rich and vibrant that it's hard to come away from the studio session without your head swimming in new thoughts and ideas about how the Forest School philosophy could be implemented in your own program. I would recommend the studio sessions to anyone looking for a better perspective on the flexibility of the Forest School movement." --Stephen Pullom, June 2024 Studio Session

Email Dr. Jean Lomino to Attend

Other Offerings!

Custom-designed experiences -- professional development, certification training, consulting, site development, travel-studies, and retreats!

  • Professional Development: Established private schools and traditional public schools in California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee have networked with FSTI for whole staff training experiences in a variety of formats -- in-person, virtual, one-week intensives, and monthly sessions over the course of a school year. Reach out to us if we can help you solve a problem or better realize your vision.¬†
  • In-person Certification Opportunities: Regional, site-based¬†teacher and director certificate¬†courses are offered for individuals, schools and communities. FSTI will come to your neighborhood!
  • Consulting Services: Our diverse and experienced team of thought-leaders are available as consultants (by the hour or the project) on topics such as: budget management, site development, fund-raising, forming community partnerships, curriculum frameworks, multi-age learning environments, accessibility¬†for diverse learners, overcoming bias, integrating academic standards, social-emotional wellness, staff training, vision-casting, child development, Montessori immersion, naturalist training, nature journaling, and school management.
  • Site Development:¬†We call it Leave-No-Trace Playscapes‚ĄĘ.¬†Some people ask, 'what if we don't have a forest?'¬†Forest school principles are not dependent upon the number of trees you have on your campus, but instead on allowing children to engage authentically in their space. We are helping a fifty-year-old, church-based preschool build a native prairie for children to explore. We are helping a public preschool redesign a playground. We are helping a Montessori school discover how nature is both a provocation and an extension of indoor prepared environments. We are helping a homeschool parent design learning centers on her family farm.¬†Let us know if we can collaborate with you for ideas and locally sourced options for your location!
  • Travel Studies:¬†Our most recent trip (Spring 2022) to study forest schools in England opened eyes, deepened understandings, and built friendships. We are planning more to other destinations. Requests have come forward for Scotland, South Korea, Colorado, Scandinavia, and Canada. Watch our site or follow our Facebook page for upcoming opportunities.¬†
  • Retreats: We call it sweet communion -- seasonal retreats with kindred spirits in beautiful places. Let us know if you are interested in hosting a retreat in your neck of the woods! Our next retreat will be in a spectacular place in Northern Minnesota, October 2022.¬†

Browse Our Archive of Recent Past Events

 May 2024

Forest School Teacher Institute

in collaboration with Mind Body Nature Counseling

Creative Writing and Nature Therapy Workshop:

Writing Your Wilderness -- Finding Self in Nature 

LIVE, On-line Virtual Event

In this hands-on workshop, we will demonstrate how to creatively interact with the natural world as a raw, ready, and real resource that can help you process emotions, untangle thoughts, and generate whole-body wellness.

Join us to learn strategies to weave nature-based creative writing experiences into therapeutic practices that can reconnect you to the natural world, to yourselves, and to the beautiful wilderness that lives inside us all.

Facilitators:  

Author Emma Hudelson leads the Butler MFA Writing for Wellness initiative. She holds a PhD in creative writing from the University of Cincinnati, and her research areas include narrative medicine, expressive writing, and critical autoethnography. At the intersection of these fields lies creative writing for wellness, and Emma loves harnessing the therapeutic power of creative writing with her students. Since 2017, she's led Writing for Wellness workshops in the Indianapolis community and beyond. Her first book, Sky Watch, will be released in March 2024 with the University Press of Kentucky. Emma lives on the east bank of the White River with her husband and daughter, and she will forever be a horse girl.  

Therapist Bailey Sims holds a MA in clinical mental health counseling from Christian Theological Seminary and a BA in cross cultural community development. She is also a registered yoga teacher. She works as a mental health counselor in Indiana, holding space for transformation and incorporating mindfulness, body and nature-based modalities into her work. Cultivating experiences for people that instill love, compassion, and comfort is her life's work. 

March 2024

Forest School Teacher Institute

in Partnership with 

East Tennessee State University

Department of Early Childhood Education

 

FOREST SCHOOL TEACHER CERTIFICATE

and Level I Forest School Naturalist Certificate

Camp at Buffalo Mountain, 201 Methodist Camp Road, Jonesborough, Tennessee

 

Join Dr. Jean Lomino (Founder/President of the Forest School Teacher Institute) and professors Dr. Jane Broderick and Dr. Pam Evanshen (ETSU Dept. of Early Childhood Education) for this four-day intensive. Practical and place-based, hands-on learning will include:

  • observation and assessment strategies
  • mindful site tours of students at Seedkeepers Forest School and Fauna Forest Farm
  • practice of emergent learning techniques
  • place-based activities including naturalist skills, nature journaling, comtemplative practices, learning frameworks

Forest School Teacher Training is conducted in partnership and endorsed by the Early Childhood Education Department of East Tennessee State University.

March 2024

Forest School Teacher Certificate 

with Additional Certificate: 

Nature's Therapy for Children's Mental Well-Being 

At Paradise Canyon, Rio Medina, Texas

Join Dr. Jean Lomino, President and Founder of Forest School Teacher Institute and Sloyd & Croft for a one-of-a-kind, four-day intensive training and retreat designed for Forest School Facilitators thriving in unique environments like cactus-filled landscapes, caliche, and road runners. Embrace the beauty of nature even in arid settings!

PRESENTERS:

Dr. Jean Lomino, PhD: Meet the requirements for a Forest School Teacher Certificate through the Forest School Teacher Institute. Dive into emergent learning, flow learning, observation and assessment, inquiry learning strategies, nature journaling, integrating cultural and heritage themes, and sit spots, rituals and schedules. Training also includes daily Nature Field Observations and a Naturalist-led session. Participate in small group and individual mentoring opportunities.

Dr. Wanda Hillard DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC, and Tracy Ziomek, RN, BSN:  Nature’s Therapy Certificate, Enhancing Mental Well-Being in Children in the Forest School setting. Gain practical experience in sensory exploration, stress relief, teamwork, and creative expression, relaxation techniques and positive affirmations taking ques from the environment.  Take home 15 outdoor wellness experiences you can implement immediately. Enjoy small group coaching opportunities to get answers to questions for your unique setting and situation.

GUEST SPEAKERS:

Delaney Ziomek of NEW Ember Winds Forest School

Kevin Cooley of Drumming Around

Amy Sterner and her therapy poodles of Hill Country Therapy Tales 

Sloyd & Croft, the Boat Brothers

February 2024

Northeast Indiana Workshop: Exploring the Nature of Forest Schools

Location: Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College, Albion, Indiana

Join Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center and the Forest School Teacher Institute (FSTI) for a two-day immersion into nature-based learning. At the core of this professional development opportunity will be multiple nature-based site visits to observe preschool and elementary children along with their teachers.

Conversations and deep dives into relevant topics including: 

  • What does observation and assessment look like in the forest?
  • What is the teacher‚Äôs role in outdoor classrooms?
  • How does free play contribute to academic success?
  • What is it about nature‚Äôs classroom that engages children so deeply?
  • What does the research say about the worth of this type of experience for children in today‚Äôs world?
  • Do I have to be a naturalist to take children into nature?
  • How might this look in my neck of the woods?¬†¬†

 September 2023

Forest School Teacher Certificate Training with additional Endorsement for Social and Emotional Well-Being 

Hosted by Sloyd & Croft: An American Slöjd School at Paradise Canyon

Rio Medina, TEXAS (near San Antonio)

Over 50% of US parents are currently reconsidering their child’s educational environment. They are searching for schools that provide a place for children to experience the joy of learning within a healing environment. Forest School philosophy can provide a solution. Join us for this special training event designed for new and seasoned professionals alike in beautiful Paradise Canyon. Experience a packed, four-day training program that emphasizes the integration of best practices from both education and clinical health into the Forest School setting.

Training Facilitators:

  • Jean Lomino, Ph.D., Founder/President of the Forest School Teacher Institute
  • Wanda Hillard, DNP, MBA, APRN, PMHNP-BC, Founder of Thrivability
  • Tracy Ziomek, RN, BSN, Founder of Sloyd & Croft
  • Plus guests: Kevin Cooley, Therapeutic Percussion, and Amy Sterner, Anxiety Relief with Animals¬†

 June 2023

 In-Person Forest School Teacher Certification

Lookout Lake Farm in Chattanooga, Tennessee


Join Dr. Jean Lomino, Founder and President of Forest School Teacher Institute, at Lookout Lake Farm, the birthplace of Wauhatchie School and the current site of Nature Kin Farm and Forest School for a three-day Forest School Teacher training intensive. Inspiration, wonder, and awe abound on the scenic trails of Reflection Riding Arboretum &Nature Center and the lakeshore, woods, and fields of Lookout Lake Farm. We will observe children learning through exploratory play at local forest school camps, engage in debrief sessions, and participate in classes including Emergent Curriculum in Nature-base Learning, Cultural Themes in FS, Practicing Mindfulness, Nature Journaling, and three hours of Naturalist Training. 

Participants will:

  • Practice observation and assessment strategies.
  • Learn to use questioning for creating on-the-spot activities that enrich/extend children‚Äôs
    discoveries
  • Understand backwards-lesson planning and create learning frameworks
  • Learn how to incorporate heritage and cultural studies in a forest school setting
  • Engage in mindfulness practices including sit spots and nature journaling

 Spring 2023 Retreat

Living the Forest School Way

Location: Camp at Buffalo Mountain, 201 Methodist Camp Road

Jonesborough, Tennessee

Join Forest School friends, fans, and colleagues for a weekend of sweet communion at Camp at Buffalo Mountain Retreat Center. We promise to nurture your body, mind, and soul as we uncover how Forest School ethos can be a way of life. A series of workshops and conversations will address "living the forest school way."  

 March 2023

Forest School Teacher Institute

in Partnership with 

East Tennessee State University

Department of Early Childhood Education

Forest School Teacher Certification

Camp at Buffalo Mountain, 201 Methodist Camp Road, Jonesborough, Tennessee

Join Dr. Jean Lomino (Founder/President of the Forest School Teacher Institute)  and professors Dr. Jane Broderick and Dr. Pam Evanshen (ETSU Dept. of Early Childhood Education) at Seedkeepers Forest School and the newly opened Fauna Forest Farm for this three-day intensive. Practical and place-based, hands-on learning will include:

  • observation and assessment strategies
  • mindful site tours of intentional outdoor learning environments
  • practice of emergent learning techniques
  • place-based activities including naturalist skills, nature journaling, comtemplative practices, learning frameworks

 January 2023

Gateways to Emergent Learning 

Fernandina Beach, Florida

Join Jean Lomino along with Dr. Carl Swafford and other forest school colleagues to take a deep dive into using nature journaling as means to connect with the natural world. We will engage in teaching strategies and activities for interdisciplinary, multi-age learning in nature, while exploring the many social and emotional benefits of nature journaling for children. These benefits include 1) learning how reflection and silence helps us connect with our own bodies and minds, 2) discovering a bigger view of the world, its ‚Äúwholeness,‚ÄĚ interconnections and our place in it all, and 3) respecting the ordinary‚ÄĒwhich leads us to understand that all things are extraordinary! In these ways children learn about hope and how they can¬†live in a peaceful community with their nature kin. Teachers will leave the training with a seasonal framework using nature journaling to integrate multiple topics and subject areas (and meeting academic standards, if needed.) ¬†¬†

 September 2022

 In-Person Forest Teacher Certificate Training

Join Dr. Jean Lomino on the beaches of northeast Florida for a three-day teacher intensive. Activities include observing children doing ‚Äúforest school‚ÄĚ in the sand and surf and in coastal wetlands, learning together about emergent curriculum, introducing cultural themes into forest school, practicing mindfulness, journaling, and naturalist training.

Participants will:

  • Practice observation and assessment strategies
  • Learn to use questioning for creating on-the-spot activities that enrich/extend children‚Äôs discoveries
  • Understand backwards-lesson planning and create learning frameworks
  • Learn how to incorporate heritage and cultural studies in a forest school setting
  • Engage in mindfulness practices including sit spots and nature journaling

June 2022

Chattanooga Workshop

Forest Schools: Creating Emergent Learning Frameworks Pre K-5

Join Dr. Jean Lomino at Lookout Lake, the birthplace of Wauhatchie Forest School and the new Nature Kin Farm and Forest School. This training is designed for both experienced forest school practitioners and those who wish to implement emergent learning in their individual teaching practice. 

Participants will:

  • Practice observation strategies to uncover children‚Äôs areas of interest during exploratory play

  • ¬†Learn to use questioning for creating on-the-spot activities that enrich/extend children‚Äôs discoveries

  • Understand backwards-lesson planning and create learning frameworks

  • Discover how to incorporate emergent learning in STEM/STEAM programs

  • Take home a seasonal learning framework to use in their individual teaching venues

June 2022

Jonesborough, Tennessee Workshop

Forest Schools: Children Learning in Nature

Join Dr. Jean Lomino at The Camp at Buffalo Mountain, the home of Seedkeepers Forest School.  Experience three days of sweet communion, nature-inspiration and focused professional growth. The training is designed for both experienced forest school practitioners and those who wish to learn about the philosophy and practice of forest school education. There will be time to explore over one-hundred scenic acres onsite with creek, pond, gentle trails, plus easy access to numerous public trails and waterfalls in the area, including part of the Appalachian Trail and the Nolichucky River.  This workshop is conducted in partnership with, and endorsed by, the Early Childhood Education Department of East Tennessee State University. 

 Included in the workshop:

  • Multiple Forest School training sessions
  • Observation of students and debrief at Seedkeepers Forest School
  • Conversations with FS leaders and teachers in the field
  • Nature Journaling, sit spots, and naturalist training
  • Personal consultations with Dr. Jean Lomino

 July 2022

 Natural Start Alliance

 Nature-Based Early Learning Conference 

Cincinnati, Ohio

Jean and Joe will be presenting at the Natural Start Alliance Annual Conference.

This is a conference of kindred spirits that will inspire and inform your work. Consider joining us for this interactive session! 

Bushwhacking: Untethered and Holistic Learning for Children 6-12

How does nature-based learning work for elementary-age children? How does child-directed learning correlate with academic skill development? These are leading questions as schools expand the use of outdoor learning spaces. Discover how emergent learning integrates seamlessly with academic subjects.

April 2022

Spring Tour:

Forest Schools in England

Join Dr. Jean Lomino for an inspiring Forest School Learning Odyssey to the South of England.¬†¬†After three days in London, we will lodge in Canterbury and visit surrounding villages for a taste of authentic English living. We will tour forest school programs in various settings in Kent‚ÄĒon the seashore, at a farm, in city centers and in the forest. Our host, Clair Stevens, is a leading forest school global advocate based in England, an author, speaker and a professor of Early Learning at Canterbury Christ Church University.¬†She¬†opened an award-winning nursery school, Manor House Nursery and Forest School, in 2008. Jean and Clair will co-facilitate class sessions designed for trip participants.¬†¬†

Location: Kent County in Southeast England. Historic Canterbury will be our "base-camp"!

Forest School Site Visits:

  • Tiny Tribes Outdoors, Whitstable,¬†UK
  • Brightstart Forest School, Margate, UK
  • Forest School at Kearnsey Manor, Ewell, UK
  • Lead by the Wild, Whites Wood Farm, Ashford, UK¬†
  • Manor House Forest School, Margate, Kent¬†

July 2022

 Louisville Forest School Summer Day Visit

Enjoy a day-long sojourn in Kentucky observing, conversing, and communing with a network of forest schools.