Abby Sutcliffe
Teacher

Email Abby: abby@urbanoutdoorslondon.co.uk
Phone: +44(123)123 45 67

I was inspired to go “the Forest School way” by watching my own young children play in natural environments. I noticed  their engagement and absorption in every task, their natural curiosity and wonder at every small living thing and their transformation and joy as they explored.

I’ve always been an explorer – travelling the world, living in many countries, absorbing ideas and cultural practices, visiting some of the most amazing wilderness in outback Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, the United States, the West Indies, and Europe – so it was a  natural progression for  me to want to share this wanderlust and the freedom I felt when immersed in natural surroundings.

I started delivering forest based learning sessions in a beautiful wood in Kings Langley with the local home education community. I volunteered with Nina  who was running Forest School sessions with local urban primary schools. Some of these primary aged children were having their first experience of being in nature – even though they lived close to parks and open spaces, they had never balanced on a log, were afraid to get muddy, had never played with loose parts in a woodland or hidden in bushes.  I felt the importance of what we were doing immensely.

Forest school was in its infancy in the UK, and I spent many years working in community groups and Home Education groups before training to Level 3 Forest School leader, with Archimedes here in the UK. The training was transformative and galvanised my desire to reach as many people as possible with this unique and absorbing practice.

I lived for three years in rural France renovating a rundown stone farmhouse, practicing woodwork, straw bale building, and off grid water and power

solutions,  and I  spent some time working in a local Democratic School delivering Nature Based English Language emersion sessions to children.

On returning to the UK I became involved with a local nature reserve in  Highgate, London volunteering at their work days and enjoying a little slice of wild in central London. I wanted to share this space with as many local children as possible and started an after school Forest School club along with Nina.

I continue to bring Forest School to the widest possible audience through engagement with parents, schools, community groups and funded community programs.

The children and young people I work with bring me daily joy, their wonder, creativity, humour and energy are a constant inspiration.