Forest Kindergarten Level 3:

Local Nature Play


Feel confident exploring nature with young children and help young learners to establish a robust connection with local nature.

Modelled on a Forest School approach, and based on the Scottish Forest Kindergarten model, our Forest Kindergarten Level 3 uses child-centred learning to develop Early Years confidence and self-esteem.

During this hands-on practical and interactive training course, you’ll learn practical activities enabling you to organise and safely set up and facilitate Forest Kindergarten sessions.

Watch our FREE webinar to find out more about our Forest Kindergarten Local Nature Play approach.

Who is Forest Kindergarten Level 3 for?

Forest Kindergarten Level 3 is for people who understand the importance of play and the outdoors for children’s health and wellbeing and capacity to learn.

Also, that giving children opportunities to experience nature is a prerequisite for caring for nature.

As such, the course is suitable for:


  • All Early Years Practitioners holding or working towards a Level 3 Early Years qualification or equivalent
  • Forest School Leaders or outdoor practitioners with a good understanding of early years practice
  • Level 2 early years practitioners (will need to be supervised by a Level 2 early years practitioner in a leadership role)

What you’ll learn

Over three days, we’ll teach you the principles and approach of Forest Kindergarten alongside the theory of how children play, learn and interact with nature. In particular:

  • How to prepare yourself as a practitioner to take young children to visit a green space
  • How to set up a suitable site
  • How to set boundaries with children
  • How to prepare for risks (risk-benefit model)
  • Research on the benefits of playing and learning outdoors
  • Games and songs to support children with the routines of regular visits to a greenspace

But that’s not all. Three themes form the basis of Forest School Kindergarten: People, place and pedagogy (activities).

This course is supported by 2 guiding principle documents developed by a UK based working group of Early Years and Outdoor Play specialists.

  • Local Nature Play is relevant and responsive to all communities, and focuses on their specific contexts and circumstances
  • Local Nature Play empowers early years practitioners, enabling them to extend their daily practice
  • Local Nature Play emphasises relationships with locality and community in building the foundations of belonging to society  
  • Local Nature Play emphasises close relationships with the natural world in providing firm foundations for feelings of belonging in nature and planet Earth as a whole 
Pedagogy - Early years
  • The value and benefits of playing in nature for child wellbeing. Holistic development and citizenship are understood by the practitioner and fully explored on the training and through submitted course documentation
  • Well-informed and robust early years play and nature pedagogy guide all activities, experiences and planning participants undertake in training and subsequently offer children in Local Nature Play

Watch this video:
Scottish Forestry Commission explains its approach to Forest Kindergarten

How Forest Kindergarten Level 3 training works

Day one learning objectives

You’ll learn how to audit a local greenspace for play purposes, consider risk and risk benefits as well as ensuring you can prepare children to leave their setting.

Day two learning objectives

You’ll spend time considering how to facilitate a Forest Kindergarten session focusing on play and pedagogy.

Day three learning objectives

We’ll take your group into our Sussex woodlands to observe a live forest kindergarten/early years Forest School session. 

Then, you’ll submit a portfolio of work to be marked by an CLR Assessor.

The aim of the qualification is to support you in running your own Forest Kindergarten sessions.

Forest School Kindergarten Level 3 comes packed with ideas of games, activities and songs to support and establish routines when off-site with young children.

Course details:

Number of units: 3 units

Credit value: 6 credits

How long will it take? Total qualification time: 56 hours

How many guided learning hours? 37 hours

Assessment method: Portfolio of evidence including practical demonstrations.

Please see the OCN course guide for further information.

Course features:

  • 2 training days in our stunning Sussex woodland, 1 day at a nursery in Portslade.
  • Recognised certification, awarded by the Open College Network West Midlands
  • A detailed handbook to support you as you continue to develop Forest Kindergarten principles once back in your setting
  • Level 3 qualification in Forest Kindergarten: Local Nature Play

Your Forest Kindergarten Level 3 training facilitators

Our tutors are dedicated, knowledgeable and, best of all, have up to date knowledge of Forest School and Environmental Education. 

Your Forest Kindergarten Trainers are
Lucy Collins and Louise Hack.

Forest School Association Endorsed Trainer

Why get certified

Learn how to apply outdoor learning to the curriculum

Forest Kindergarten provides the complete foundation for early-year practitioners who want to work in nature with groups of early-year learners.

With a Forest Kindergarten Training qualification, you can take young children on frequent visits and regular play opportunities in a local, natural setting all year round, be they woodland, park or even a beach!

Develop your career

Forest Kindergarten Level 3 progression routes include:

  • Open College Network West Midlands Level 3 Certificate for Forest School Leaders
  • Part of a placement on a HNC in Childcare


Become a qualified Forest Kindergarten Practitioner

Accomplish something meaningful – develop your career


Next available course dates

October 2022

Day 1: Tuesday 18th October 2022
9.00am – 4.30pm

Day 2: Wednesday 19th October 2022
9.00am – 4.30pm

Day 3: Thursday 20th October 2022
9.00am – 4.30pm.
Day 3 is an observation day at Bee in the Woods Outdoor Nursery in Portslade.

Cost: £375

Forest Kindergarten Level 3 Training takes place at our stunning woodland located at Mill Woods, near Laughton, East Sussex, BN8 6BP.

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Want us to host a Forest Kindergarten Level 3 Course?

We can travel to you to deliver a Forest Kindergarten Level 3 qualification for up to twenty people with one flat fee.

I’d like you to host a Forest Kindergarten Level 3 course at our premises

Cost: £5250 

Train-the-Trainer in Forest Kindergarten Level 3: Two-day course

We’re committed to making Forest Kindergarten Level 3 available to other regions and trainers/lecturers.  

If you’d like us to deliver a Train-the-Trainer course to enable your organisation to deliver the new Level 3 Qualification, we can provide this with one flat fee.

We developed our Train-the-Trainer course in partnership with leading Scottish education consultant and specialist in outdoor learning and play Juliet Robertson and is based on the Scottish Train-the-Trainer model.  

All participants get a Train-the-Trainer manual.

Forest Kindergarten Training Shelter

Entry requirements

At least two years delivering Forest Kindergarten or Forest School programmes. Two or more years delivering training.


£7000 (up to twenty participants – £350 per person)

Book a Forest Kindergarten Level 3 Train-The-Trainer Course

Why learn with Circle of Life Rediscovery?

Circle of Life Rediscovery CIC has over 25 years of experience in training professionals and inspiring thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds into the outdoors in both the UK, Ireland, Portugal and SE Asia.

We are a leading organisation in nature connection and personal development. As such, we’ve received many grants and awards for our work with groups across different ages and backgrounds.

Our team also offers bespoke training. Get in touch to discuss your requirements 

Bonus content

The Outdoor Teacher Logo

Sign up for a Forest Kindergarten Level 3 training course and get a 20% discount on The Outdoor Teacher’s Forest School Activities Online Training Course taught by Circle of Life Rediscovery founder, author, and trainer Marina Robb

Get 100 videos and resources and step by step instructions

Explore a bumper pack of additional inspiring activities and ideas to use in your forest school sessions

Refresh or learn the core skills from Forest School Training Level 3

Become a qualified Forest Kindergarten leader

Accomplish something meaningful. Develop your career.