If you want your child to grow in confidence and resilience and benefit from the great outdoors – check out these Forest School programmes, and outdoor learning concepts in Singapore!
Looking for a programme to get your kids in touch with nature? The Forest School movement has become really popular in Singapore and offers kiddos a chance to go climbing, trekking in the wild, learn ‘survival skills’ and do woodwork all under the guidance of specially trained Forest School Leaders. It’s an outdoor-style learning concept that is holistic and learner-led with loads of benefits for your child’s physical and mental well-being. A few schools offer Forest School programmes or extended outdoor learning plus there are lots of after-school programmes/enrichment centres offering Forest School programmes too.
Read more: Preschools with outdoor spaces in Singapore
What is a Forest School?
Forest Schools can be defined as nature-based communities where trained Forest School practitioners nurture child-led exploration and discovery. Teachers prioritise children’s well-being and recognise that every child’s social, emotional and physical needs can lead them to provide the best guidance in nature. The aim is to create child-led experiences to mentor holistic growth and nurture kids into becoming confident, risk-taking individuals who value and care for the environment. The Forest School Association (the professional body and UK-wide voice for Forest Schools) defines Forest Schools as any setting, from nursery, to school or organisation (including sole-trading freelancers), but the key to being an official Forest School is having at least one Level 3 trained FS practitioner on staff.
The history of Forest Schools goes way back to the early 19th Century in Scandinavia. The open-air culture (a Nordic concept often referred to as ‘friluftsliv’) has always been seen as a way of life in Scandinavia and even influenced early years education methods. Eventually, the pedagogical practice was established in countries like Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway, before becoming more popular in the UK by the 1990s.
What is an FSA-recognised Forest School Provider?
The Forest School Association has a list of FSA-recognised providers that undergo a regular evaluation process to ensure that they meet the minimum benchmarks of a quality Forest School. One of the main requirements of an FSA recognised Forest School of any nursery, school or organisation is to have at least one Level 3 trained Forest School practitioner on staff, so always ask to be sure. Other FSA-recognised requirements include rigorous safety policies, risk assessments, and first aid training among many other criteria – find out more here.
Outdoor Play & Forest Schools in Singapore
Forest School programmes within preschools or international schools offer plenty of outdoor play and forest exploration; some are weekly drop-off Forest School enrichment programmes. Some schools may not be Forest School accredited but offer significant outdoor learning as part of their curriculum that goes over and above playtime outdoors with outdoor classrooms and lessons designed to be outside. If you want to get your kids into nature, why not consider one of these outdoor play programmes or Forest Schools in Singapore?
Wildlings: Forest School in Singapore
Wildlings Forest School offers accompanied Forest School programmes for children up to 4 years old, after-school and weekend sessions (Forest School Club) for older children, as well as bespoke Forest School excursions for schools. Wildlings Forest School set in a private 1.25-acre nature campus in Dempsey, features holistic learning and aims to foster creativity, resilience and environmental awareness from a young age. Led by Level 3 certified Forest School Leaders, their passionate and experienced team guides children through enriching outdoor experiences. Wildlings staff are Child Safeguarding certified, so you can rest assured that your child is in good hands. The space has areas for jungle treks, shelter building, mud kitchens, campfire pits, water play areas, gardens for discovering insects and edible plants, a nature playground complete with sand and gravel pits, swings and play towers. Their programmes are tailored to children aged 12 months to 11 years old, ensuring age-appropriate challenges and activities to spark curiosity. Wildlings offers adult-accompanied Forest School playgroups, a Forest School club for older kids, holiday camps, school excursions and outdoorsy birthday parties!
Enjoy 20% off for siblings who wish to sign up for Term 4 2024 Forest School. Please contact Wildlings for more information.
Wildlings, 27A Loewen Road, Dempsey, 248839, Tel: (+65) 8875 5919 (WhatsApp), www.wildlings.sg
Canadian International School (CIS): Outdoor Discovery Centre
Outdoor learning and being able to apply concepts and knowledge in a real-world environment is an integral aspect of learning at the Canadian International School (CIS). CIS opened a new purpose-built Kindergarten wing in February 2023 with natural light-filled classrooms, which sit on the doorstep of a massive 2,600-square-metre Outdoor Discovery Centre. Now, kindergarten and primary students have the opportunity to explore and experiment outdoors in a natural environment every day. Through expertly guided, purposeful play, children learn math concepts in the mud kitchen, examine habitats in an eco-pond, or develop motor skills riding on bike tracks. Other experiential learning opportunities include CIS’ open minds programme where students can spend up to four days investigating topics or conducting research in real-world settings such as the Botanic Gardens and Sungei Buloh.
Canadian International School, Lakeside Campus: 7 Jurong West Street 41 Singapore 649414, Tel: (+65) 6467 1732, www.cis.edu.sg/learning/outdoor-learning
Dulwich College (Singapore): Forest School Programme
This Forest School programme in Singapore was introduced to Dulwich by Alex Hall-Gray, an internationally accredited Trainer and assessor for the UK’s Forest School Learning Initiative (FSLI). He supports the wider development of Forest School learning across Asia and Australia. Dulwich College’s Forest School programme is accredited by the UK’s Forest School Learning Initiative and is a recognised center for training and assessment in the region. Dulwich’s Forest School programme not only enables students to learn more about the world around them and make meaningful discoveries as they explore the environment, but it also helps them develop important life skills that are necessary for them to become future leaders and positive change-makers. Their student-led approach helps students recognise the sanctity of animal life, gain a newfound respect for the earth and embrace the importance of environmental sustainability through its plant-to-plate learning opportunities. As they face different challenges at Forest School, students will discover new things that will nurture adaptable judgment and decision-making skills and empower them to recognise, manage and mitigate obstacles and build their risk-taking skills and emotional resilience. These crucial life skills are the building blocks of a global citizen who will make a positive impact on the world in the near future.
Dulwich College (Singapore), 71 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8, Singapore 658966, Tel: (+65) 6890 1003, singapore.dulwich.org
Tanglin Trust School: Forest School Programme
Not-for-profit Tanglin Trust School offers a Forest School programme led by Level 3 Forest School teachers and facilitators. Introduced from Nursery, the on-site Forest School is an integral part of the Infant School’s curriculum and the ‘Curiosity Approach’ pedagogy, where children are encouraged to use authentic materials and learn to appreciate the natural environment in order to achieve a calmer and more curious way of learning. Tanglin believes that encouraging an interest in the great outdoors through the Forest School will help each child develop their social, physical and learning skills – an essential part of early development. This outdoor experience is not just limited to younger children. Tanglin also offers a Forest School co-curricular activity as part of its extensive CCA programme, where outdoor learning is viewed as an essential part of the school’s curriculum. Click here for more information on the Tanglin Trust Forest School Programme.
Tanglin Trust School, 95 Portsdown Road, Singapore 139299, Tel: (+65) 6778 0771, www.tts.edu.sg
EtonHouse International School Thomson: Forest School Programme
A Reggio-inspired IB PYP international school for children aged 18 months to 11 years, EtonHouse International School Thomson also has a Forest School programme in Singapore with a Level 3 Forest Schools Leader accredited by Openawards. The campus has a natural space on its compound for Forest School sessions that will continuously be developed with the learners. The programme seeks to nurture children to become confident, resilient problem-solving and creative individuals who can make a difference in the world.
EtonHouse International School Thomson, 8 Thomson Lane, Singapore 29774, www.etonhouse.edu.sg/school/thomson
Explorers @ ForestPlay: Outdoor Programme
ForestPlay offers a weekly drop-off outdoor play programme for children aged 4 to 7, children. Lessons are facilitated by the programme’s Nature Rangers who use natural elements as learning opportunities. Not only will kids be one with nature, but they’ll also develop their communication, physical, social, emotional and gross motor skills, and knowledge of the world around them. To truly get the little ones immersed in nature, little ones will get to learn how to tie ropes, forage, climb trees, use real tools like hammers and saws and play collaboratively with their peers.
ForestPlay, 112 Tanjong Beach Walk, Singapore 098945, www.forestplay.com.sg
Forest Adventure Club: Forest School in Singapore
Forest Adventure Club is a Forest School in Singapore led by trained and experienced Forest School Coaches who are passionate about the Forest School ethos. Children will learn how to identify plants, animals, and insects and role-model different activities such as putting up a rope swing, tying knots, den building, putting up shelters, whittling, nature art and bushcraft. Forest Adventure Club also runs school holiday camps.
Forest Adventure Club, multiple locations in Sentosa, Wessex Heritage Area, Tampines Eco Green, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Keppel Hill, and Fort Canning Park www.forestadventureclub.com
Forest School Singapore (FSS): Forest School Programme
Forest School Singapore offers outdoor Forest School programmes with the aim of empowering children and challenging them when they are ready. There is minimal structure and sessions are almost fully child-led. Forest School Singapore conducts its fun outdoor programmes at the Bukit Timah Forest Basin campus. There are also family programmes where parents can join in, just in case your little one is not ready to try out this drop-off Forest School programme on their own.
Forest School Singapore, Mayfair Park, Clementi Forest, www. forestschoolsingapore.com
The Grange Institution: Green Granger initiative
The award-winning Green Granger initiative, part of The Grange Institution’s efforts to champion education for sustainable development, caters to children aged 3 to 12. Children take part in sustainable practices such as recycling and organic gardening in the Eco-Garden and Urban Farming areas. There is also plenty of outdoor play where students get to experience learning amongst nature along Singapore’s green belt.
The Grange Institution, 449 Yio Chu Kang Road, Singapore 805946, Tel: (+65) 6817 3630, www.thegrange.edu.sg
Nature Explorers School: Forest School in Singapore
This Forest School programme, led by a Level 3 certified Forest School leader, adopts a holistic teaching approach, imparting knowledge of flora, fauna, survival skills, the science of how things work, plus the history and geography of the land to children. Safety assessments are completed before each lesson so risks are minimised and coaches are also first aid-certified. Nature Explorers School currently runs weekly Forest School sessions at Mount Faber.
Nature Explorers School, Mount Faber, Singapore, www.natureexplorersschool.com
Nurtured Nest: Outdoor Play Programme
This Reggio-inspired preschool offers Forest School initiatives that encourage sustainability and plenty of outdoor play. Students use lots of natural materials in their projects and fulfil the Forest School part of the curriculum with weekly forest visits with certified Level 3 Forest School leaders. Topics of enquiry centre around sustainable practices and caring for the planet. Their Natural Playscapes at the preschool include an eco-pond, sand pit, outdoor atelier, gravel pit and butterfly trail as well as logs and rocks for children to climb.
Nurtured Nest, 644 Dunearn Road, Singapore 289627, www.nurtured-nest.com
Outdoor School Singapore: Outdoor Programmes
Outdoor School Singapore (OSS) is known for hosting day adventures and camps for children 4 to 9 years old in various schools, allowing them to discover the red dot’s nature parks and reserves. In turn, kids develop their ecological awareness, empathy and intelligence, in order to become risk-takers and responsible, resilient citizens. OSS works with schools, parents and organisations to provide a multi-sensory experience outside of the classroom, surrounded by nature. Through activities, children hone important survival skills, learn about Singapore’s vibrant flora and fauna (and the importance of environmental conservation) and get active with experiences like supervised climbing activities and building their own shelter.
Outdoor School Singapore, 229 Mountbatten Road, #01-14, Singapore 398007, outdoorschool.sg
Primus Schoolhouse Phoenix Park: Forest Preschool
At this forest preschool, children can become adventure-seeking individuals who are empowered to manage their own risk and build resilience. The outdoor curriculum is all about open-ended play in the natural environment where little ones get to build structures to make mud pies, explore their imagination and learn through play.
Primus Schoolhouse Phoenix Park, 310 Tanglin Road, Phoenix Park, Singapore 247975, forestpreschool.primus.edu.sg
Roots and Boots: Forest School-inspired
This urban Forest School runs drop-off programmes for 3 to 8-year-olds to teach children through outdoor learning activities. The Forest School-inspired programme here emphasises life skills and experiential learning, designed with each child’s holistic development. Every two-hour session features exploratory activities within the natural environment, and children enjoy meaningful interactions that encourage self-discovery and character development with their peers and the Forest School guides.
Roots and Boots, www.rootsandboots.sg
Shaws Preschool: Preschool with Outdoor Play
You can rest assured that Shaws Preschool prioritises outdoor play and nature for kids aged 18 months to 6 years – after all, there’s tons of outdoor space for outdoor play at all five of their centres, with butterfly gardens and even vegetable patches! The Shaws Preschool Lorong Chuan Campus has a pool so kids can get water confidence lessons, while Shaws Little League Coaches come to the schools twice a week to teach children age-appropriate sports. Children who take part in the full and extended day programmes get to take part in the ShawsPlay Club, with activities ranging from Little Chefs, Art and Specialised sports.
Shaws Preschool, multiple locations in Singapore, www.shaws.com.sg
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