What is a forest school?
A Forest School is an open-air nature-based schooling system that was created in Scandinavia in the 19th Century. The methodology grew to other European countries like Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, later moving to the UK in the 1990s. In a certified Forest School, trained facilitators nurture children in inquiry-based exploration to stimulate their learning in nature.
Having the focal environment be out in the wilderness in fields and among the trees is believed to promote a child’s wellbeing. It is in these environments that children learn together, developing their social and emotional capacities, as well as their confidence to be challenged, take risks in a safe environment, and grow.
FSA Recognised Forest School Providers
Not all nature-based schools in Singapore will be certified providers of the Forest School method, but some will have worked towards this accreditation. This is where a school has met the requirements of the FSA (Forest School Association). The school or organization must have at least one practitioner that is trained in Level 3 Forest Schooling on their staff. Other requirements include risk assessments and meeting safety.
Learn more about the FSA accreditation policies here. There are multiple international schools and other programs in Singapore which offer forest schooling and nature-based education for children. There are full-time schools, enrichment programs, courses, camps, and more. Read on to learn about the top Forest Schools in Singapore and the nature-based education programs that your child can take.
The White Lodge Preschool was the creator of the Primus Forest School. The recently opened campus at Phoenix Park is their first Forest School. They have a huge outdoor space with a vegetable patch, climbing frame, flying fox, and an indoor gym. The preschool works closely aligned with the child-centric inquiry-based teaching approach that has children develop their confidence and nurture their interests. Learn about their integrated methodology of fostering children’s physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional development here.
Primus Forest Preschool by the White Lodge International Preschool, Phoenix Park, 310 Tanglin Road, Singapore, +65 6235 5310, email@example.com, www.forestpreschool.primus.edu.sg/
The beautiful schooling setting at Nurtured Nest was designed by a Nature Specialist, offering a stunning playscape where the students will spend hours outdoors every school day. The school system has three core areas of focus; the Reggio Emilia method, Forest Schooling, and strong methodologies communicating a sustainability mindset. The preschool has certified Level 3 Forest Leaders to take the kids out into the wilderness in weekly sessions. Learn about their living classroom environment and teaching method here.
Nurtured Nest, 644 Dunearn Road, Watten Estate, Singapore, +65 8779 7533, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.nurtured-nest.com
The folks at Kanopy preschool are not only passionate about child-centric learning but also instilling a positive mindset into your child from a young age. To see the world through a lens of curiosity and optimism is what your young children will experience as they learn in the outdoor classroom of the preschool. The classroom was built by specialists in Early Childhood learning so that kids are safe while getting enough challenges to grow. They have weekly half-day playgroups, pre-nursery to kindergarten sessions, and after-school activities. Learn more about their programs and schedule here.
Kanopy Forest Preschool, Bukit Time Campus, 6 Jalan Keria, Mayfair Park, Singapore, +65 9815, 8849, email@example.com, www.kanopy.com.sg/
The Nature Explorers School is suitable for all children up to 12 years of age. They focus on teaching kids, in the child-centric inquiry approach, the core development skills of emotional intelligence, life skills, and social awareness. Lessons will involve explorations in survival skills, learning how things work in a practical scientific method and even the history and geography of the land. Kids connect with their environment in a way that allows them to understand the impact of human interaction in nature. The school offers weekly sessions at different times to suit your child's schedule. Take a look at their programs here.
The Nature Explorers School, Labrador Nature Reserve, Labrador Villa Rd, Singapore, +65 9847 1674, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.natureexplorersschool.com/
You can find the Wildlings outdoor nature-based classroom in the Dempsey jungle region in Singapore. They have a wide range of Forest School programs for children of various ages, from pre-school sessions to a Forest School Club for kids a little older, and even adult-accompanied outdoor playgrounds for the younger children. They have nighttime playgroups, cooking classes, adventure camps, and even the opportunity to celebrate your child’s birthday with the school guides in nature. There are morning sessions for preschool-aged children, and after-school and weekend programs for other kids.
Wildlings, 27A Loewen Road, Dempsey, Singapore, email@example.com, www.wildlings.sg
The teaching approach at the Roots and Boost Forest School in Singapore is inspired by the traditional Forest School method blending early childhood development knowledge to give kids a holistic experience. Their outdoor classrooms have mixed-aged students to stimulate social literacy and have a great 1:4 guide-child ratio to make sure children get a lot of personal support. Your child can visit for a one-time trial class to see whether like want to join the weekly drop-off classes. The sessions are two hours long and are suited for children aged 3 years and older. Learn more about their programs and curriculum here.
Roots and Boots Singapore, various parks and locations across Singapore, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.rootsandboots.sg/
As part of the larger Dulwich College school in Singapore, the DUCKS Kindergarten is where they offer a Forest School initiative and other free-learning and co-curricular activities to support the development of your young children. They are encouraged to take risks and explore their environment. The Early Years children will visit the Forest School on a weekly basis and take part in activities like building bird feeders, a den, digging a trench, and exploring the trees and plants. The program is accredited by the UK’s Forest School Learning Initiative (FSLI). Learn more about their Forest School program here.
Dulwich College Singapore DUCKS, 71 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8, Singapore, +65 6890 1000, email@example.com, www.singapore.dulwich.org/
This school was one of the first Forest Schools in Singapore. They guide their lessons in the Bukit Timah Forest Basin campus. The school holds regular workshops, holiday camps, and weekly drop-off sessions for kids. As stated on their website “it takes a village to raise a child” and the collaborative approach to the multi-age explorative classes really fosters that sense of community and belonging for your child. The regular sessions take place in the morning and afternoons, and you can choose the frequency that works with your and your child’s education schedule. Explore the programs at the Forest School Singapore here.
The Forest School Singapore, Bukit Timah Forest Basin, 2 Dairy Farm Road, Singapore, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.forestschoolsingapore.com/
The ForestPlay Programs are run in Singapore’s “first adventure playground.” The nature playscape includes tires, ropes, recycled wood structures for climbing, lots of trees and plants, and plenty of space for kids to run around. Rather than a full-time school, Forest Play is a drop-off school program for kids to explore different lessons in nature each week. It’s suited for kids aged 4-7 years, and there are some parent-child programs that allow you to come to play and interact with your child's learning explorations, too.
Forest Play Park, 112 Tanjong Beach Walk, Singapore, +65 9380 3468, email@example.com, www.forestplay.com.sg
This is a British International School with a Forest School Program for nursery-aged kids. The school calls it the ‘Curiosity Approach’ to learning as they encourage the young kids to use natural materials in their environment as their main teacher, and have the educators be there to facilitate their explorative learning. The Forest School Program that the school leads compliments their after-school curricular forest adventure studies, where children up to year 2 explore the greenery of the Wessex Estate where Tanglin Trust School is situated. Learn more about this newly developed Forest School program here.
Tanglin Trust School, 95 Portsdown Rd, Singapore, +65 6778 0771, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.tts.edu.sg
Additional Forest Schools In Singapore And Nature-Based Education