Three day Facilitator Training Course ~ Sussex

Price Options

Standard fee: £500, Supporters fee: £650 (contact us for Concessionary fee). Paying the supporters fee enables us to offer concessionary fees.

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About the course

Who is this course suitable for?

This course is designed for people with previous experience of working with children in a nature-connection setting.

What you will gain?

  • An opportunity to expand your tools and deepen your practice in nature with children.
  • Introduction to the skills and knowledge to plant Children’s Forests with your groups.
  • Direct experience of planting trees with children in the months following, facilitated by the CF team.
  • Practical ecological skills, information and experience, enabling you to tend community and biodiversity in a Children’s Forest.
  • You will be welcomed into the community of Children’s Forest facilitators pending completion of all three parts of the course.

Our training is in three stages


Children’s Forest Facilitator Training

£500 / £650 for 3 day camp May 23-26 2024, with food included. Danehill East Sussex

This is a fun, connective experiential long weekend where you will learn the 4 steps of the Children’s Forest journey and the philosophy that inspires and informs the way we work.


Experience Planting a Children’s Forest

Date and site to be chosen during planting season, no cost.

You will join in with a Children’s Forest planting project and experience the first 3 steps of the process in practice with the children.


Children’s Forest Tending Course

A two day course will be held June 29-30th 2024 in Danehill East Sussex.

2023 current price: £350 / £500 includes 2 day camp with food included. Price may change for 2024.

In this final part of your training you will learn how to tend a Children’s Forest so that it thrives into the future. 

About the tutors

Anna Richardson: Anna has been a nature mentor and trained forest school leader for over 20 years, working with children of all ages and mentoring adults in plant lore, foraging, nature connection and bushcraft. The 8 Shields deeply informs Anna’s work and approach.  She is passionate about connecting to nature through creativity and reverence for life and is also a forest school trainer through Circle of Life Rediscovery and has co-authored two books : Learning with Nature and The Children’s Forest and is the founder of the Children’s Forest.

Pippa Johns: Pippa has 25 years experience of working with land, designing and making ecological gardens that produce food for people alongside providing habitat for abundant wildlife and building soils. She has worked on Organic farms and smallholdings and has taught Permaculture for over 20 years. Pippa is passionate about inspiring people to develop their own connection to a piece of land to grow food for families and communities. She has designed and taught on Permaculture design courses, been a tutor for the Permaculture Diploma and developed her own courses in ecological gardening and connection gardening. She has created the first Children’s Forest tree nursery, facilitating children to grow native trees from local seed, for planting Children’s Forests. 

Erica Shorter: Erica has been learning and playing in nature as a Forest School Leader and Nature Connection Mentor for over 10 years. She is happiest wandering barefoot in the forest and brings a flavour of deep nature connection into her work with children and adults. She is informed and inspired by the 8 Shields and is passionate about creating spaces for people to feel deeply connected with nature and their inner landscapes.

Ellie Fuller: Ellie is an experienced nature mentor and wilderness skills facilitator. Her passion is supporting children and young people especially to connect with the natural world in reciprocal, fun and adventurous ways. The vision of Children’s Forest and her own are deeply aligned, and she loves her role as a Children’s Forest Facilitator

STAGE 1: Children’s Forest Facilitator Training

May 23 -26th 2024

Course Content

Over these days you will be guided through the four step journey of Experiencing, Imagining, Planting and Tending a Children’s Forest program. Our aim is to support you to engage children as co-creators of their world.

As we journey through the four step process we will first experience each step as would children whilst planting a Children’s Forest. We then discuss and reflect upon each step, engaging with the philosophy as well as the practicalities of planting a Children’s Forest.

During the three days we will explore ancestral skills, games, music, song and storytelling. The culture of Children’s Forest is informed, amongst other practices, by the 8-Shields model, which is inspired by the living elements of indigenous practice as shared by Jon Young.

In the evenings we gather within a circle of oak trees around the fire as a tribe, sharing songs and stories in the fire light together in the ways our ancestors have done for thousands of years. Throughout the course we will enjoy three meals a day of delicious food.

STAGE 2: Participating in a Planting Project

Dates TBA

About the Course

The second part of the Facilitator Training is participating in a Children’s Forest Planting Project with children and the facilitation team. This important experience helps to bring the theoretical and adult based learning of part 1 into the practical application of planting a Children’s Forest. You will be part of the journey with the children and team, experiencing forest time, creative imagining time and the planting of the trees.

What does this involve?

We usually work with 30 children over 3 days on a project. You are welcome to participate for all 3 days or at minimum for a day and a half in order to see one group of children through all three steps.

DAY 1: Step 1 & 2

Forest Experiencing & Imagining

The first group of 15 children spend the morning session in the forest exploring, playing and experiencing the mature woodland to set the scene for the journey ahead.

In the afternoon the children visit the planting site and drawing upon their experience in the woods, imagine the trees they will plant and the animals that will come and live there. Through art and poetry, story and games we activate future generational awareness.

DAY 2: Step 1 & 2:

Forest Experience & Imagining

The second group of 15 children come for the same experience as the first group.

DAY 3: Step 3

Tree Planting

In the morning the first group return for the planting of the Children’s Forest. With games and simple ceremony we reconnect with care for the land and plant wishes for the children of all species together with the trees.

In the afternoon the second group arrive to repeat the planting journey of the morning session. When the trees are planted we celebrate the new forest together.

STAGE 3: Tending a Children’s Forest

June 29-31st 2024

About the Course

Over two days we will look at all aspects of tending a Children’s Forest from young trees into the future. This will include developing a growing community around your children’s forest, practical aspects of caring for a young forest, crafts and activities to increase and enhance biodiversity, tracking and recording changes in the environment, supporting connection in children and communities, creating community learning and celebration opportunities.

During this weekend course we will explore tending the land and our role as caretakers – reconnecting us with the positive part humans can play in the health of our ecosystem.  The tending of a newly planted Children’s Forest offers children and their communities a place to develop connections with each other as well as the land and the family of species with which we share the world.  Here we develop heart connection as well as knowledge and ecological understanding.  We will explore the practicalities of looking after the trees; the creation of habitats for wildlife; surveying the site and reporting with advice from ecologists.

“The Children’s Forest Facilitator course has been the most inspirational training I’ve ever been on.
…I feel like I have been physically shifted in my heart after these four days. Your knowledge, your love and your organisation of the days have been so gratefully received.”

~ Rosie


Upcoming courses

April 22 - July 1 2024, 4-6pm

'Greet the Trees' Summer term (for community)

£10 drop-in per family, or Adults £35 for 4 week block (children free)

Join us for these weekly sessions on Monday afternoons to greet some of the trees we met in the autumn in their Spring and Summer finery. With games, songs, stories, crafts and food we will experience the gifts of the trees and tend the tiny seedlings growing from seeds gathered and sown in the autumn.

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April 27th 2024, 10-2pm

Tree Nursery Community Volunteer day


Join us to tend the tree nursery and learn about growing trees. These are volunteer work days for individuals and families where we will tend the young trees growing in our tree nursery. Work includes watering, weeding, pricking out seedlings, sowing tree seeds and more depending on the time of year. You’ll learn some aspects of growing and caring for young native trees at each session.

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April 28th 2024, 10-3pm

Beltane Fire Making & Tree Tending (for families)

Adults £25 per person, children by donation.

Join us for a family fire making and tree tending day. We will explore ancient fire making techniques, plant trees and tend the childrens forest together. Enjoy fireside community connection through song, games and nature connection.

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