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07-03-23 Forest School Learning

Guests Diana Brennan and Lindsey Baillargeron, Educators and Founders, Northern Rhode Island Forest School

Forest Schools have roots that reach back to the open-air culture, seen as a way of life in Scandinavia. It is a long-term child-centered learning process that happens naturally through play, exploration and supported risk taking. It develops confidence and self-esteem through learner inspired, hands-on experiences in a natural setting. Forest School Learning is a timely topic that can help support the new Learning Inside Out Outdoor Classroom Initiatives happening in public and charter schools. Many schools have received grants to create, enhance and support access to natural resources for all students in the form of outdoor classrooms or schoolyard habitats. Teachers are seeking outdoor teaching strategies that will actively engage children and improve their language literacy, math, science, creative and critical thinking skill development and this episode will support and inspire that process.

Diana BrennanDiana Brennan has a B.S. in environmental science and has worked as a wetland scientist for the past 20 years. She has experience with habitat assessments, restoration projects and sustainable development. She possesses a deep understanding of Rhode Island’s natural resources. She is trained as a Level 3 Forest School Leader through Forest Schools Education, an internationally recognized program. Earning this certification gives Diana the skills and experience to guide learners safely and effectively. Having experienced first-hand the power of nature to help us heal, grow and learn, Diana is determined to counter “nature deficit disorder” by getting children and adults off of the screens and into the woods.

Lindsey BaillargeronLindsey Baillargeron was a classroom teacher for 14 years, having taught middle school and high school English. She earned her Master’s in English from Harvard University and studied education reform and its effect on British novels. Lindsey is currently pursuing her second masters degree to become a k-12 reading specialist at Lesley University. She is focusing on language skills children need to understand texts in different disciplines. Lindsey is trained as a Level 1 Forest School Assistant, and she will be sharing how she found her way into Forest School teaching and how it enhances her effectiveness in teaching language arts.



Visit the Northern Rhode Island Forest School website at

Read the Story Walking Journal entry, Dandelion Fun –

Learn about UK-Based Forest School Training at

Learn about the new US-Based Forest and Nature School Teacher Certification for Early Childhood Training –

Read the following to learn more:

  • Stevenson, M. P. (2018). Green Matter: How exposure to natural environments improves cognitive functioning in children with and without Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen.
  • Williams, F. (2018). The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. WW Norton.
  • Louv, R. (2008). Last Child in the Woods. Algonquin Books.

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