Following the announcement of our Queen’s award in April, we are delighted to share an article written about Little Forest Folk by a journalist who visited us in May.
"Leanna and James, who met while working in a safari camp in Botswana, southern Africa, came up with the idea of a forest nursery in the autumn of 2011 when their first child, Ella, now seven, was six months old.
‘When she started crawling, she wanted to go outside all the time. We were living in London and it was not the way we had grown up.
‘She would be banging on the patio doors and playing on this tiny patch of grass. We wanted her to have a childhood like we’d had, but we didn’t want to move to the country.’
‘We thought we needed to create some way of her being outdoors all day long. We liked the Scandinavian system. We wanted to do something like that.
‘I must have been Googling and we talked briefly about moving to Scandinavia so that she could have that type of education. Then we kept coming back to “but we like our lives here”,’ recalls Leanna, who talks nine to the dozen and fizzes with energy.
When their second child, Jack, arrived in 2013, they decided to make this dream a reality. Leanna did not return to her job, and they drew up a business plan.
‘Everyone thought it was crazy! Even my NCT group. A couple of them thought it was great, most of them thought it was a nice concept, but they said they would never send their own children there.
‘It was an unheard of thing then — now it is much more popular,’ says Leanna.