Forest School 

Forest School at the Woodland Retreat

Forest School is a learning approach that encourages children to explore and learn through play in a woodland setting.

It is based on the idea that children learn best when they take ownership of their own learning.

By providing children with a choice of activities it empowers children to become independent, creative, resilient and confident learners.

Activities include: 

Nature Crafts, Den Building, Cooking Games, Mud Kitchen, Storytelling, Free Play, Nature Identification

"The best classroom and the richest classroom is roofed only by the sky."- Margaret Mc Millan

Suitable for: 5 - 12 year olds

What does your child need: Warm, waterproof clothing and footwear, a change of clothes and a snack.

Hosted by: Leonie Dwyer, Forest School Leader, and Emma-Jane Leeson, Woodland Retreat Owner

When: Tuesday's

Time: 3:30 to 5:30

Dates: September to June

Where: Woodland Retreat, Ballynafagh, Prosperous, Naas, Co. Kildare W91 Y9V3

Cost: €20 per child per session. For payment plans please WhatsApp on 083 021 7309

Meet the Leaders


Leonie is a Primary School Teacher and also the founder of Thrive Outdoor Education which runs Forest School camps and afterschool programs. She is a qualified Forest School Leader and a member of the Irish Forest School Association.

Leonie believes in the power of nature based play and discovery. By enabling children to engage in the natural world they are intrinsically inclined to be curious and creative learners. Forest School is a learner centered environment in which children can explore, take supported risks, develop new skills and have fun. 

Leonie loves crafting with natural materials. Her favourite tree is the Elder as she can use the bark to make jewellery, the flowers to make a cordial and the berries to make a winter tonic.


Emma-Jane is the forest owner, author and yoga teacher and general nature nut! Emma-Jane is the founder of 'Johnny Magory' Ireland's leading children's book publisher. 

She is currently the Creative Writer Reader in Residence with Kildare Libraries and works with children across the country promoting literacy and a love of storytelling. 

Emma-Jane is passionate about Irish wildlife and heritage, protecting and promoting it through her books and workshops. 

When not in the forest, she can be found with her horses, goats, dogs, cats and donkey. Her favourite tree is the oak tree. Her favourite forage is the berries that grow in abundance in the forest and gorse flowers. 

Benefits of outdoor play:

Enhances physical development, reduces stress and anxiety, promotes wellbeing, enables creativity, curiosity problem solving and independent learning, develops a love and understanding of nature.

The Forest School takes place outdoors but we have huts and shelters to keep dry in very bad conditions.

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