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Little Forest Folk central team

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Leanna Barrett

CO-FOUNDER

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JAMES BARRETT

CO-FOUNDEr

We live locally in Raynes Park but spent our childhoods in carefree outdoor environments and wanted the same for our kids. It was the sort of time when you could leave the house after breakfast and not return until it was nearly dark, and only then because you were hungry!

We met in the Kalahari desert in Botswana whilst living under canvas and managing a safari lodge and are now parents ourselves. We love our life in London but were saddened by the lack of opportunities for young kids to be outdoors playing freely and exploring in the fresh air. So we decided to do something about it and in 2015 we launched our first forest nursery in Wimbledon! 

We want to give all children in London the opportunity for a direct and regular avenue to nature and the joy of unrestrained childhood. We are passionate about healthy development, respect for all, safety, good nutritious food and the delights of the natural world.

 
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LISA

Chief Operations Officer

Lisa has been with us since we were just six months old and is now our Chief Operations Officer. Before joining us at Little Forest Folk, Lisa previously worked with start-up companies in the International Development sector, leading on multiple projects across developing countries and supporting on all company operational activities. Lisa loves the great outdoors and enjoys walking her dogs with her two children, horse riding and camping.

Lisa is a great believer in children being outside, being healthy, happy and connected to nature.

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jeni

operations manager

Jeni has been working in Early years for over 20 years. Her journey began when trying to find her eldest son a suitable nursery which would meet his needs. She volunteered at the nursery, which led her to undertake her Childcare qualifications. She then went on to manage the nursery before branching into her teaching level 3 Childcare Diploma qualification course and then moved into Regional Manager roles.

Living in the rolling countryside of South Downs, Jeni enjoys spending her time walking her dogs. Jeni cannot wait to watch the children grow and develop in the unique and engaging way which makes Little Forest Folk so successful.

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Suzie

Senior people guru

Suzie comes from a food background, with over 20 years in the hospitality, catering and retail sectors, most recently with a US retailer focusing on health, nutrition and organic.

Living in Kinston Suzie has wonderful access to the Thames tow path and Richmond Park, which enables her to get outdoors and enjoy the great walking and biking. Being outdoors combines with her interest in gardening, which takes up a lot of her free time.

Suzie loves being a part of the Little Forest Folk team, and is excited to be able to support the teams out in the forest.

 
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Kristy

head of family experience

Kristy is originally from Durban, South Africa and has been fortunate enough to enjoy the varied natural delights that the diverse coastal province has to offer. From the mangrove forests to the majestic mountains and the game reserves in between, exploring these has always been part of her life. She has returned to London with her family and is excited to be a part of the Forest Folk team.

She strongly believes in the Little Forest Folk philosophy and the benefits that outdoor adventures can bring to the lives of children. 

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lorena

Admin guru

Lorena studied Music Performance and Languages and has many years of experience as a teacher in lots of different places. She is from South America and loves travelling, hiking and discovering new places.

From her experience in Early Years education and having worked in a nursery before, she became passionate about teaching and shares Little Forest Folk’s commitment and passion within child-led based learning.

Mollie

Recruitment & Systems Guru

Mollie has always been green fingered! After training and working as a florist for 10 years, she decided to change career and took on a role in HR. 

Growing up locally, on the leafy Farthing Downs in Surrey, Mollie has a passion for influencing young people to explore the great outdoors and as a regular “fun” runner (although we won’t talk about another marathon!) and she’s keen to see our future generations getting active and staying healthy. 

Mollie is excited to see how teaching extends outside of the traditional classroom and to support our teams to deliver the best care and education for our young people.

 
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paige

Admin guru

Paige studied Theatre design at University and still loves to do illustrations in her own time.

She has a passion for child led based learning and feels the forest is a wonderful place for little ones to experience adventures!

She enjoys being behind the scenes and is passionate about Little Forest Folk’s vision.

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BECKY

chef

Becky has always loved to cook and can’t recall when cooking hasn’t been one of the favourite parts of her day.

Becky feels passionately that children should learn about food, not just the sheer pleasure from cooking and eating but some of the basic issues that surround food, seasonality, provenance and sustainability. Children love to cook, enjoying the taste, smell, feel of food and the freedom to make a mess!

Becky’s mission is to make tasty, wholesome and nutritious food for the children to enjoy during their time at Little Forest Folk. She uses simple, natural ingredients with a focus on taste, nutrition and creating proper homemade food suitable for active little people.

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TERESA

SOCIAL MEDIA GURU

Teresa, with a background in software development, product management and digital marketing, has over 15 years' experience working within a range of industries and for big international companies.

Growing up in Australia, she shares Little Forest Folk's passion for getting children connected to nature and enjoys spending time with her family outside as much as possible.


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Charlie

Manager

Charlie has been teaching in London for 6 years. He is a qualified Primary school teacher and is about to start his L3 Forest School Leader training. He loves teaching in the EYFS which is why he has spent 5 of those years teaching in Reception.

Charlie is passionate about outdoor learning. He believes that children thrive when given the opportunity to choose, explore and become autonomous learners. He says that children are "nurtured by nature!"

Storytelling, singing, dancing, getting creative and taking risks during child-led play are all part of the active learning Charlie believes children need to develop to their full potential.

Charlie loves music, stories, travelling, cycling, surfing and adventure!

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Sylwia

deputy manager

Sylwia is a qualified SEN teacher with 10 years of experience in education with great passion for outdoor and play based learning. She’s originally from Poland and moved to London 13 years ago.

Sylwia loved spending time in nature, hiking, being surrounded by animals, playing by the river or in the woods as a child.

Sylwia believes that Little Forest Folk gives children the childhood they deserve and equips them with skills for life during the crucial years of their development. She loves watching how their independence and confidence grows through the freedom they’re given to explore. On the weekend, Sywlia enjoys travelling, creating art, reading books and listening to music. The meaning of the name Sylwia is “from the forest,” so Little Forest Folk is the right place for her to be!

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libby

third in charge

Libby grew up with the best of both worlds of the woodlands surrounding Kent, and the hustle and bustle of London life. As her knowledge in Early Years has grown, she has found that the importance for children to learn and play in the outdoors and develop a love for learning at an early age is crucial to give them the best start in life.

Libby studied at Nottingham Trent University and has a degree in Education Studies and Early Years whilst also gaining her Early Years Teacher Status. She holds a strong passion for Early Years and with her bubbly personality she ensures that children aren’t just learning from her but they are learning with her, finding treasures, exploring nature’s wonders and most importantly encouraging curiosity!

 
 
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Anya

Forest Nursery Educator

Anya grew up in Moscow and spent every weekend on the farm with her grandparents, growing food and building dens and tree houses. After moving to the UK, her love for animals and nature led her to study Environmental Anthropology. Reading books on the Anthropology of Childhood & Youth and Nature-Deficit Disorder sparked her interest in outdoor and environmental education and she is now committed to ensuring city children get as free-range a childhood as possible. 

Anya believes that being immersed in nature from a young age does wonders both for children and for the future of the planet and can’t wait to share her passion and energy with Little Forest Folk!

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ruth

Forest Nursery educator

Ruth grew up in Shropshire and most of her childhood memories are of adventures in the countryside of her home county and neighbouring North Wales.

Although she has spent many years inside a classroom - having recently graduated with a Master’s degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Sheffield - her time volunteering on organic farms in Scotland made her feel her most inspired, which enlightened her to the power of outdoor education.

She thinks the quote by Gary Snyder, ‘Nature is not a place to visit. It is home’ is a great reminder that we cannot be detached from our nature, even in the City of London! 

Ruth is very excited to be working for Little Forest Folk; she loves seeing the children filled with awe, playing, and storytelling in the forest.

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mel

Forest Nursery educator

Mel was born in Peru in a family environment where creativity, humility and care for nature and its inhabitants were instilled as the main axes of growth. Her inquisitive and adventurous nature took her to travel and live in many exotic places around the world.  After witnessing the vulnerable conditions in which many of the people she came across in her travels lived, she decided to continue her professional life in the area of International Development in order to have an impact on the lives of the less fortunate.

Mel has an MA in Social Entrepreneurship focusing on Social Innovation in Education. She has been working with children in the early years and primary school age ranges for the past five years mainly in the Amazon Rainforest. During this time she has encouraged children to become agents of social and environmental change. She has  an unwavering faith in the potential of the connection between children and nature to create a better world for all.

 

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Otis

manager

Otis has been involved in childcare for many years working at schools, nurseries and at summer camps in the Catskills Mountains, NY.

In 2016 Otis had an inspirational research trip to Sweden, whilst completing his Early Years Teacher Status, where he visited several forest schools and decided, he wanted to work outdoors. Alongside doing his Masters in Research in Education, he has just gained his Level 3 forest school leader qualification.

Otis comes from a creative background, holding a degree in Fine Art Photography, and uses this creativity to influence his practice. He is a firm believer in child led learning and enjoys taking on exciting projects, influenced by the children, such as making rope ladders and forest cars.

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jacki

deputy manager

Growing up in the Austrian mountains and forest right beside lake Constance, nature and the outdoors is one of Jacki’s biggest passions. Jacki found a love for working with children after various nanny and babysitting jobs, and has recently completed her studies in early childhood education and care in which she also discovered her desire to work in a nature based environment. Jacki is excited to provide the children at Little Forest Folk with a childhood full of adventures and joy like she was able to experience, as she believes children connecting to nature forms the foundation to healthy development and growth.

Jacki also has a great love for travelling and spends her time outside of work exploring different countries, getting to know other cultures and learning more about the world we live in.

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Tânia

third in charge

Tânia grew up at the seaside, surrounded by lovely woods and beautiful beaches in Portugal. She loves adventure, spending her free time surfing, hiking and travelling.

Tânia has been teaching in Lisbon for 6 years, working in different projects as a Kindergarten Teacher, Homeschool Consultant and International Volunteer. She has a Masters in Pre-School Teaching Education (Early Years) and has participated in research on homeschooling and didactics.

Tânia believes that outdoor learning supports children’s problem-solving and nurtures creativity. She deeply understands how important the contact with the natural world is and encourages children to learn through it - Learning by doing.

 
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Georgia

FOREST educational leader

Georgia was born on a huge Greek island where the sea and the mountains are only few minutes away from my home. As a child, she enjoyed long walks on the beach with her sister, looking for sea treasures.

Georgia has a BA degree in Early Childhood Education and recently completed her Postgraduate Certificate in SEN coordinator. After moving to London three years ago, she has worked in various early years settings, such as a Montessori school, a school of Early Childhood, inspired by Reggio Emilia approach and an International School.

Georgia strongly believes that nature plays a crucial role for children’s development. She also believes that children should has the opportunity to express themselves through many different ways, because “there are multiple ways of seeing and multiple ways of being”.

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georgia

forest nursery educator

Georgia has been living locally to Chiswick house and gardens for over 15 years and has recently graduated from Falmouth University after studying a Theatre degree. She has previous experience working with children in America as part of the Camp America Programme.

Over her three years studying in Cornwall, she was surrounded with beautiful countryside which allowed her to rediscover her passion for the outdoors. After moving back to the area where she grew up, she felt like it was natural to find a job which allowed her to connect with nature and also teach others the importance of it. Georgia believes that Little Forest Folk has given her just that and so much more!

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victoria

Forest nursery educator

Victoria has an academic background in Pedagogy - Fine and Decorative Arts and through it has acquired relevant tools that enable her to bring on creative assets when working with children, along with a breadth knowledge of the multi faceted area of child development.

Victoria is passionate about healthy and sustainable lifestyle and finding balance through spending as much time as possible into the natural world doing gardening or hiking.

Victoria finds outdoor education to be the hope and support for the new generations in this historical moment. She feels proud to be part of Little Forest Folk’s mission of reconnecting young children with the natural world and giving them the chance to a good start in life.

 
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Jepha

Forest Nursery Educator

Born in Wellington, NZ with both ocean and mountain on her doorstep, Jepha grew up with a love of the outdoors and could usually be found climbing trees or on walks with the family dog. In the Girls' Brigade she organized camps and hiking trips roaming the national parks and walking trails, encouraging girls and young women to challenge themselves and enjoy the natural wonders around them. 

After getting her Diploma in Deaf Studies and NZSL, Jepha started a role as a Relief Teacher which allowed her to gain experience in a range of ECE settings and philosophies. Assisting in the daily implementation of the ECE curriculum lit a passion for early development and an appreciation of the way children flourish when they are given room to follow their natural curiosity and sense for adventure.

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jaye

Forest nursery educator

Jaye has volunteered within the early years for fifteen years and went on to completed a Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies in 2016. Jaye is passionate about early years education fostering a play-based, child-led and holistic approach; ‘letting them be little’ as they discover their interests, passions and love for learning.

Jaye was inspired by her Dad’s interest in nature and gardening growing up. Playing and exploring outdoors was also a normal part of life living by the coast of Newcastle, Australia. This included playing made-up games growing up like ‘bush girls and bush boys’ in the gum trees of her backyard, regularly visiting her cousins’ sugar cane farm and rainforest or bush walks with her Dad.

Jaye had the opportunity to attend a selective performing arts high school where she excelled in piano, dance, and visual arts. She regularly practices yoga and walks or runs in Richmond Pak. Jaye brings her creative flair, love of movement and nature to her teaching style.

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AVALON

currently on maternity leave

Avalon is a trained Primary School Teacher as well as having her Early Years Teaching Status. From a young age, Avalon has loved being outdoors. She spent every summer holiday romping around the Cornish countryside, getting lost in the woods or clambering over the neighbouring fields around her grandparents farm. Avalon has always wanted to work in education but struggled with being inside classroom environment for long periods of time.

In her working career, she has worked with all ages from birth through to adults. During her Post Graduate studies, Avalon was lucky enough to go to Sweden to undertake Forest School training and found the experience to be phenomenal. When she returned to England, she found it difficult to find a setting that had the same outdoor education vision, until she found Little Forest Folk! She is now very excited to be a part of all the Little Forest Folk teams.

 

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Marlon

Manager

Marlon was hugely influenced by the Forest School movement and Steiner approach whilst studying for his Teaching Diploma in Denmark.

Since that time the natural environment has been an integral part of his work both in formal and informal education across London.

Marlon is also an experienced Level 3 Forest School Leader as well as holding a degree in Fine Arts.

‘The natural world is the perfect match for a child’s innate curiosity, offering them a limitless resource for new opportunities and experiences’

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Rachel

deputy manager

Rachel is originally from the Scottish Borders and has thrown herself at outdoor activities with enthusiastic joy all her life. Family holidays were spent camping and hiking around Scotland and outdoor play was a normal part of growing up. Some of her best memories are of Sunday picnics in the local hills, swimming in rivers, climbing trees and digging mountain bike trails in the woods.

Rachel holds a certificate in Outdoor Education and Environmental Studies and has four years of experience as a volunteer youth leader.

She is currently studying towards both her Forest School and Level 3 Early Years qualifications giving her the tools to channel her deep love and appreciation for the outdoors in a meaningful way.

Rachel finds that every day is made different because of these little people and is passionate about the importance of outdoor play and learning. Helping the children discover themselves and the world around them is inspiring, exciting and very often hilarious.

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Harriet

third in charge

Harriet has always found time to make the most of the outdoors having been brought up in the countryside! She found her passion of different types of exercise from a young age when she ran up her first mountain in Scotland. She believes that children learning outside with nature is very encouraging. One of Harriet’s favourite quotes ‘When life gives you rainy days, play in the puddles,’ and children enjoy nothing more than jumping in them!

With years working within a variety of different environments mostly in the UK and all ages of children, she has gained a wide amount of knowledge and she feels very lucky to have found Little Forest Folk.

 
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Isabella

FOREST educational leader

Isabella grew up in the countryside and spent her childhood outside in the garden and woodlands and believes it is the

best place to create lasting lessons and experiences. She is excited to be part of creating this experience for children and to utilise her own personal experiences of outdoor learning to add value to theirs.

Isabella studied Accounting and Finance at university quickly discovering the office life was not for her. She feels very lucky to have found Little Forest Folk where children learn outside every day. She is incredibly excited to progress her learning having started my L3 forest school training this year and starting her EYITT PGCE at UCL in September.

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CLAUDIA

FOREST NURSERY EDUCATOR

Claudia grew up in the in the North of Portugal and spent her childhood playing in the outdoors in the countryside. As a scout throughout her childhood, she loved camping, climbing trees and exploring the natural environment with her brothers.

Claudia has over 10 years experience in childcare abroad and in the UK, working as a nanny. This experience has allowed her to inspire and share her love for nature and passion for arts and crafts with children.

Claudia also has a BA degree in Education Studies, including a forest school placement. She believes that the natural environment can have a positive impact upon children’s physical and mental health. She also believes that children learn best through play and exploring in the real world.

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katie

FOREST NURSERY educator

Growing up in Aberdeenshire, Scotland Katie has always loved being outdoors whether it was visiting the beach, woodlands or just playing out in the garden. This love of the outdoors has continued into adulthood, where she enjoys camping, walking and paddle boarding come rain or shine!

Katie has a degree in Illustration & Photography and loves being able to share her creativity skills with the children of Little Forest Folk.

Katie believes that outdoor play is vital for children in their early years as it allows them to become curious, independent and resilient learners. She loves the quote by Ken Robinson “Never underestimate the vital importance of finding early in life the work that for you is play.”

 
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karen

Forest Nursery educator

Karen has a BA and BEd degree in English language teaching and she has been working within early years for 5 years. She has taught in Hong Kong, Vietnam and London and enjoys discovering and learning about different kinds of innovative educational approaches worldwide.

Karen enjoys being active and loves hiking, dancing and travelling. She believes that every child has the right to learn and develop in their own way and is truly committed to the Little Forest Folk ethos.

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KATE

Forest Nursery educator

Kate is originally from the southwest of England and grew up spending her free time swimming in the sea and exploring Dartmoor. Her love of the outdoors turned into a job when she discovered sail training and started teaching young people how to sail and live aboard traditional wooden sailing boats. 

Kate has always loved working with children and is delighted she has been able to return to an outdoor education setting with Little Forest Folk.

 

 
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christie

MANAGER

Christie grew up in the Northern Beaches of Sydney, Australia surrounded by beaches, bushland, reserves and a community of people who enjoy everything the outdoors have to offer. Christie has completed her BA in Primary Education which she completed at Notre Dame University in Sydney. While studying, Christie worked part time in an early childhood centre and fell in love with the age group. Christie has been working with young children since 2011.

In 2017 Christie spent 9 months travelling the UK and parts of Europe which involved a study tour of outdoor nurseries in the UK, an international early childhood conference in Italy and a study tour in Iceland. Spending time in the outdoor nurseries inspired her to move to the UK and join a team helping children get knee deep in nature.

Christie is a passionate Early Years Practitioner who believes children have a right to a childhood full of nature, imagination, creativity, fun and friends. She aims to empower children to make their own choices, explore their own interests and develop their ability to explore the world around them.

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xiao

deputy manager

Xiao knew he wanted to work with children from the moment he left school and is enjoying his career in early years. He has worked with children with profound and multiple learning difficulties where he loved making sensory stories and has also been a nanny on skis.

More recently he has been teaching 16-19 year olds to be early years’ practitioners and loved nothing more than getting his students outdoors to build dens and help them rediscover the magic of outdo or play.

He is so happy to become part Little Forest Folk and share in children’s wonder as they make relationships with their outdoor environment and uncover new discoveries in the great outdoors.

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linn

third in charge

Growing up, Linn loved the freedom to explore the forest and the lakes, when visiting her family in Finland. She believes in a play-based and child-centred pedagogy that gives children the freedom to explore and follow their own interest. Linn is most relaxed in the outdoors, she believes that it offers an environment that is great for children, because it affords many fascinating possibilities. She is looking forward to supporting children on their journeys of exploration and learning. 

Linn has recently completed a BA in Early Years education and has done her final project on the benefits of outdoor education. She has previously worked at a nursery for four year which uses a forest school approach.

In her free time, she goes hiking and camping and is especially fond of the magic of camp fires. She is fascinated by the night sky and loves reading science fiction books. 

 
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MIRANDA

FOREST NURSERY EDUCATOR

Miranda is originally from the Isle of Arran in Scotland and grew up roaming the countryside, following streams to their source and watching the slowly turning path of stars. With a dad who was a mountaineer, outdoor play and learning were a huge part of her childhood and she is still an avid hiker and nature lover - only feeling truly at home outdoors in wild spaces. 

Having lived and worked with children in an eco village, taught children to scuba dive in marine conservation areas, and worked as a music and art therapist with refugee children in the Calais Jungle, her greatest passions have always been working with children and in nature. Working as a professional homeopath in London, Miranda missed the outdoors and its opportunities for healing, learning, growth and reflection, and is now very happily sharing children’s learning and growing adventures both in her clinic and in the forest with the team at Little Forest Folk.

As a writer, Miranda enjoys encouraging the imagination and creative self-expression of children as they grow - and having learnt the most about herself, others and the world around her whilst outside playing in this living, breathing world that is our shared home she is full of joy to guide little ones through the forest and their own unique, magical adventures.

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dejan

FOREST educational leader

Dejan grew up in the mountains of Romania and spent his weekends snowboarding, climbing and hiking. Previously Dejan has been a professional football player and a beekeeper but it is the fond memories of his time camping and exploring as a child that have drew him into the forest! 

Dejan studied a degree in law before going on to complete his PGCE in Primary education. He believes that nature is the greatest teacher and an outdoor environment offers children the opportunity to develop and grow mentally and physically. Dejan understands that no two children are the same, but that the forest encompasses everyone.

Virginia

FOREST NURSERY EDUCATOR

Virginia is passionate about building sustainable, more vibrant, and healthy communities that engage daily with our natural environment and value emotional intelligence as much as academic intellect. Her childhood in the USA was filled with days of building fairy villages out of sticks and leaves, spying crayfish and frogs in the creek with her brother, and learning to grow a garden with her mother. She first read Shakespeare in a tree with her best friend, taking turns as Puck and Titania. Getting dirty and lost in the woods was encouraged!

Virginia has over ten years of experience working with young children as a nanny in the United States and Bermuda. Her most fulfilling days are spent watching children experience the same wonderment in nature that she did growing up. As a forest nursery educator at Little Forest Folk, she continues to spark curiosity and engage young minds in learning through outdoor play and exploration.

 
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Miranda

Forest Nursery Educator

Miranda is a Montessori trained teacher who loves working with the early years ages, especially in the outdoors.  She has worked in day nurseries, private nurseries, as a tutor, as a nanny and she has also worked and travelled extensively abroad over the years.

Miranda loves walking and has conquered several coast lines and ancient walls, she loves creating and getting messy, she has climbed a few mountains, and has an allotment in her back garden. Miranda thoroughly enjoys exploring, learning and accompanying a child on their adventurous investigation of life.

 

 

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Lizzie

Forest Nursery Educator

Lizzie has six years’ experience in environmental education, working with a range of ages from Early Years through to young adults. She has taught Ecology and Geography at field centres, assisted in primary schools and delivered wildlife-themed sessions on nature reserves. She is also a qualified Level 3 Forest School and Beach School Leader and loves spending time in both woodland and coastal environments.

Having grown up in the Kent countryside, Lizzie’s interest in wildlife started at an early age, searching for minibeasts and dipping in the garden pond – she still enjoys this today! She is passionate about connecting children with the natural world and believes it is vital that these foundations are laid for future generations of conservationists. 

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Kate

Forest Nursery Educator

Growing up near the Lake District, Kate is passionate about the need for children (and people of all ages!) to be outdoors, exploring and connecting with nature. Her best childhood memories are those where she arrived home tired and covered in earth, which is something she thinks all children should get to experience.

 Kate has always wanted to work with children, having previously been a play worker in more traditional settings. More recently she has worked in child development research, which has included working with children at risk of severe developmental delay in India. This research has helped her to further appreciate the value of imaginative, child-led play. She is excited now to be moving back outside and into the forest, and to be part of a team helping to enable these important early experiences.

 

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Conor

Manager

Conor studied Primary Education at university and graduated with QTS in 2015. It was half way though his time at university that he witnessed forest school in action and ever since then, knew it was a career he wanted to pursue. He then completed his dissertation on the social, emotional and physical benefits forest school has on children and is now keen to put his theoretical knowledge into practise.

Conor is currently working towards gaining a Level 3 Forest School Leader’s qualification. He loves the outdoors and hopes some of this enthusiasm will rub off on the children!

Eddie

deputy manager

Eddie has always yearned to be outdoors. Having two brothers, they spent most of their time playing sport and exploring the outdoor environment. After managing an online business for 5 years, Eddie decided to follow his heart and travelled and volunteered around New Zealand and across south east Asia. This ignited his passion for nurturing and teaching of children.

Upon returning, Eddie became an outdoor atelierista at a Reggio Emilia inspired nursery and lead the forest school and he is currently completing his level 3 diploma as an Early Years practitioner. Eddie instigated a forest walk scheme to reconnect the children to their beautiful nearby local woodland space. The joy and engagement he received from the children on these walks inspired him to work in the forest full time, and feels very privileged to be part of the little forest folk family.

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karen

third in charge

Karen studied a PGCE in Art and Design at university and graduated with QTS in 2015. She strongly believes in learning through exploration and practical hands-on discovery and has years of experience in running creative sessions for children. Through her interest in wellbeing and creativity whilst working as a Community Artist she came across the Forest School ethos and went on to complete a Level 3 Forest School Leader’s qualification.

Karen has many happy childhood memories of playing outdoors, in particular of fun visits to her cousins who lived on a farm and she remembers with fondness the enjoyment and freedom of playing out in the fields with them. Her love of the outdoors has continued through to adulthood and she enjoys going on country walks and visiting and exploring new places.

 
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Kathyrn

FOREST educational leader

Kathryn studied Primary Education at Durham University and graduated with QTS in 2018. She has always had a passion for the outdoors through growing up in the countryside in Northern Ireland, spending many summers and spare time camping by the coast, hiking and taking part with many water sporting activities.

Kathryn visited Little Forest Folk for a short time during her studies and knew immediately that it was something she was interested in. Seeing the children’s confidence, maturity and enjoyment in a learning environment was amazing and she is excited to have opportunity to help children flourish in an environment that will equip them with many skills needed for their future success.

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sofia

forest nursery educator

Sofia was born in Uruguay and spent her childhood years exploring her back garden as well as the wild forest and countryside encompassing her grandmother’s house. These early experiences sparked her deep fascination for the natural world. This is also why she feels it is important for all children to explore and make their own connections with nature.

Sofia enjoys gardening, art, hiking and spoiling her pet hamster. She is extremely excited to continue to learn and becoming level 3 forest school trained in the future.

Prior joining Little Forest Folk, Sofia was at university studying Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science in Bristol, alongside volunteering with local forest schools.

Sofia has so much fun working outdoors with children and feels extremely honoured to be a part of the Wandsworth team.

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Sadiye

forest nursery educator

Sadiye studied English & Creative Writing whilst living in Cornwall and most recently completed her level 3 Countryside Management. She is a qualified Yoga Teacher and loves to combine nature with health and well-being. 

Sadiye has worked as a Forest School Nursery Assistant before and after pursuing work in Permaculture, she feels it's time to finally go back to working in education. She truly believes that nature plays a vital role in children's learning, health & development. She loves empowering children and is a big kid at heart.

In her spare time she makes natural herbal remedies, dances and volunteers at animal sanctuaries.  A keen adventurer, she is often found wandering and exploring, connecting with the environment around her. Sadiye is excited to put all of her interests and skills together at Little Forest Folk.

 
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emmanuella

Forest Nursery Educator

Emmanuella has always loved the outdoors and has a passion for working with children so working for Little Forest Folk is the perfect place for her to combine her interests. She is local to the area and even used to have PE lessons on Wimbledon Common (one of our forest school sites). 

Whilst in year 11, Emmanuella was elected to join an organisation called ‘WiL Power’ which aimed to empower young woman. Since partaking in this Emmanuella believed that in order to empower people you have to have a positive influence on them and working with the early years is the best place to start, watching and guiding them to develop into the best version of themselves. 

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jessica

Forest Nursery Educator

With Scandinavian roots and having grown up in the Norfolk countryside; Jess has always felt the most at home surrounded by trees and nature. Her fondest memories from childhood are sitting in the trees, listening to the wind and getting lost in the hay bales! 

As a teenager Jess took her love for the outdoors to the forces and became a Flight Sergeant in the Combined Cadet Force - Royal Air Force. Here she led the younger cadets on expeditions at RAF bases, orienteering and instructed climbing and obstacle courses.  

Jess later went on to study Education and Early Childhood Studies at University where children's emotional and spiritual development really sparked her interest in outdoor education. Jess truly believes that being in touch with nature, experiencing life through the outdoors is the best start a child can have in life in order to really flourish and grow in confidence. 

Manny

Forest Nursery Educator

Emmanuel has grown up as a youth in theatre and performing arts in training to eventually training youths himself, his lifetime passion and skill derives around teaching and performing music and drama which has got him involved in a plethora of community outreach projects, youth clubs and schools. He has taught toddlers and primary school kids how to beatbox!

He has spent more than 11 years at the Lyric Hammersmith in high quality productions earning himself a Grade 5 in Drama and Performance. He profiled in a youth choir and he has graduated in BMus Hons Music Performance and Recording Level 6 in University.

Overall Emmanuel’s aim in the Forest is to adapt his educational performing arts and musical talents productively in the immersive forest environment for the kids.

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SIMON

HANDYMAN / OUTDOOR LEGEND

Simon has been running his own business for a number of years and spent 8 of these years in beautiful Spain. After having made the decision to return to the UK, he joined Little Forest Folk and has since enjoyed driving the children, supporting the team and helping as an all-round outdoor legend.

 
 
 

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Philip

MANAGER

Phil is a primary school trained teacher who has taught and worked with children in London, Devon and Cardiff, Wales. He has also tutored and looked after children in Austria and Canada.

Having trained in forest school education, he is passionate about outdoor education in all its forms: from building fires to crawling through the undergrowth in search of interesting plants and mushrooms. He believes that the outdoors can offer far more to the development of children than is often recognised and cannot wait to learn from, and with, the children of Little Forest Folk.

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hayley

deputy manager

Hayley grew up in a tiny town in South Australia where her backyard was infinite and so spent hours playing outside. Her childhood has guided her personal philosophies and led her to a passion for outdoor education, which she has traveled to the other side of the world to pursue.

Hayley has a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood and has been working in the industry for nearly a decade. She loves adventure, feeling the earth under her feet and finding ways to be creative in the great outdoors. For Hayley, there is nothing better than fresh air in your lungs and being surrounded by Mother Nature's beauty!

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poppy

third in charge

From growing up in the Hampshire countryside, Poppy has always enjoyed being outdoors, and she is fascinated in the way in which children can use nature to learn, play and explore.

Poppy has a degree in Early Childhood Studies and is a firm believer in the Little Forest Folk ethos of giving children the freedom to learn through play.

 
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sam

Senior FOREST EDUCAtional leader

Sam has a BA in Primary Education and has been an early years teacher since 2014. During this time, he has seen the benefits of outdoor play, and the impact it can have on children’s wellbeing and their attitude to learning.

Sam believes that child-led provision based on both the children’s interests and the skills they need to develop are important to teaching in the early years. He is excited to work somewhere which not only shares these beliefs, but allows children to explore and learn about nature and the world around them.

Sam enjoys reading, football and good quality knitwear (provided by his grandparents). He is currently working towards completing his level 3 forest school leader training.

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abbey

FOREST EDUCAtional leader

Abbey has been a teacher for the last 5 years and has worked across all age groups. She loved getting her classes outside as often as possible as she believes this is where they can best to build confidence and become imaginative learners. She has a degree in Literature and Philosophy and is trained in delivering philosophy for children.

Abbey grew up in Devon and spent her teenage years roaming Dartmoor looking for the beast of Bodmin. Now, she loves wild swimming and has been learning how to forage as her one of her main passions in life is cooking exciting food that uses seasonal and local produce.

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Emma

FOREST NURSERY EDUCATOR

Growing up in Greece, Emma spent her days outdoors, enjoying adventures at the beach, in the mountains or in nearby woodlands. Emma has a degree in childhood studies, an MA in Early Years education, and five years’ experience working in Early Years before starting her journey with Little Forest Folk.

Emma has a passion for outdoor play and helping children to explore their natural world, experiment, take risks and develop positive learning dispositions. Emma believes in the importance of providing children quality time to play in the fresh air and helping them connect with nature. She feels privileged to be a part of the LFF team and to be surrounded by active, fully engaged and excited children. Her favourite part of the week is flying around with superheroes, making mud 'potions', playing around the mole holes and climbing trees.

 
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Virginia

FOREST NURSERY EDUCATOR

Virginia is passionate about building sustainable, more vibrant, and healthy communities that engage daily with our natural environment and value emotional intelligence as much as academic intellect. Her childhood in the USA was filled with days of building fairy villages out of sticks and leaves, spying crayfish and frogs in the creek with her brother, and learning to grow a garden with her mother. She first read Shakespeare in a tree with her best friend, taking turns as Puck and Titania. Getting dirty and lost in the woods was encouraged!

Virginia has over ten years of experience working with young children as a nanny in the United States and Bermuda. Her most fulfilling days are spent watching children experience the same wonderment in nature that she did growing up. As a forest nursery educator at Little Forest Folk, she continues to spark curiosity and engage young minds in learning through outdoor play and exploration.

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sarah

FOREST NURSERY EDUCATOR

Sarah grew up not too far from Wimbledon and is very happy to be enjoying the local forest area in one of the best ways possible. Sarah has experience working on placements in hospitals and children’s wards, as well as schools, both mainstream and schools focused on additional needs, both educational and physical. She has also spent time in Borneo playing with, and teaching, the local children while enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

Sarah loves bringing music into the forest with songs, rhymes and instruments, and enjoying making up songs with the children. She is inspired by the development of the children while in outdoor play, and is very proud to be a member of the LLF team. Sarah is currently completing her Level 3 forest school leader training.

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Katarina

FOREST NURSERY EDUCATOR

Katarina has a great love for the outdoors and grew up in the countryside in Slovakia. She would be found exploring the great outdoors - come rain or shine! She has a degree in Psychology and a level 6 (Early Year Professional Status) qualification in childcare.

Katarina has over 14 years childcare experience working as a nanny as well as an early year practitioner. She loves working outside in the forest, staying connected with nature and enjoys being able to share exciting journeys with the children.

 
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spike

FOREST NURSERY EDUCATOR

Spike was born and raised in Maidstone in Kent and loves walking, cooking, writing, reading but most of all telling stories! He has worked in childcare since 2014 and is finishing his level 3 Forest School Training. He loves the outdoors and working with children so Little Forest Folk is the perfect combination!

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Freddy

Forest Nursery educator

Freddy has a deep love of the outdoors, animals and plants and feels that working for Little Forest Folk is a perfect fit. Freddy has experience working at Playschemes and is keen to gain experience in the forest and to expand on his knowledge of different styles of pedagogy.

Freddy is a recent music graduate and believes spending time in nature is critical to positive learning and creativity. He is very excited to bring together his love of working with children with his passion for nature, the arts and education.

He loves cooking, hiking and cats, and is a big music nerd!

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Hannah

Forest nursery educator

Though I am from Sydney Australia, I grew up living in America, Australia, England, Hong Kong and Singapore. Coming from an extremely active family, I have always appreciated the outdoors, and not just on land.

A couple of years ago I qualified as an Open water scuba diver, expanding my love for the environment. Currently I am studying a degree in Child Psychology and Education Studies and I throughly believe that spending a large chunk of your day outdoors can have a hugely positive impact on the development of not just adults but young people as well.

 
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Abigail

Forest nursery educator

Born in the valleys of South Wales, and brought up in the countryside of Yorkshire, Abigail spent her childhood in the outdoors with her cousins and grandparents. Climbing up Pen Y Fan, the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons, and exploring the forests of West Yorkshire, this is where her love for wildlife and the outdoors began.

Abigail has studied multiple animal related courses, up to her BSc in Animal Conservation and Biodiversity, and it was during this course where she worked with the London Wildlife Trust, providing outdoor sessions for nursery children. She has recently completed her PGCE and very excited to put her learning into practice with LFF.

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natalie

Forest Nursery educator

Natalie grew up in various countries such as Spain, Thailand and China. During her early years, she spent most of her time outdoors during her travels pretending to be fairies and mermaids by the forests and the sea. She believes that broadening a child's imagination is vital for their growth and development.

She enjoys singing songs in different languages to children and aims to teach children about different cultures to broaden their understanding of the world. Natalie is trained as a Montessori teacher and during her time of study she discovered forest school education and is excited to be a part of a concept that is growing and expanding.

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hannah

Forest Nursery educator

Hannah has wanted to work with children since studying for her GCSE’s and over the years has worked in a variety of different childcare settings.  She strongly believes in the importance of teaching little ones the basic but crucial skills that will be used throughout their lives, whilst giving them the freedom to explore independently in the great outdoors.

Having spent a lot of time in rural France during her childhood, Hannah developed a love for spending time outdoors with her family, whether that be long walks, or exploring new places. Hannah has a keen interest in music, loves going to festivals or concerts, and thoroughly enjoys travelling to new countries and places in the UK.

 
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LARA

FOREST NURSERY EDUCATOR

Lara studied Childhood Studies at Sheffield Hallam University where she completed a module in Forest Schools. Through this module, Lara saw how playing outdoors helps a child develop curiosity, risk taking skills and a positive attitude towards learning.

Since joining Guiding aged 7 Lara has had a keen interest in the outdoors and believes this is essential for all children to learn. For the last two summers Lara has worked at an American Summer camp where she has been able to continue her love of the outdoors and encourage others to participate in more outdoor activities.

Lara is excited to be able to continue working where she can combine her passion for working with children and the outdoor environment.

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LES

DRIVER

Les has three children himself who have spent a vast amount of their play time on Wimbledon Common. Les loves nature and wild animals, especially pond life and is really enjoying being part of Little Forest Folk team.

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olga

currently on maternity leave

Olga grew up in Greece, and first began working with children because they help keep her inner child alive. Olga has a Diploma in Children Studies, and is due to finish her Masters in Conservation Management of Heritage in November 2018.

She is excited that she can combine her love of working with children with her passion for nature, conservation and sustainability, and relishes the opportunity to be able to see the impact nature has on children development at Little Forest Folk. She loves reading, yoga and the rain never stops her from taking long walks outside!

 
 
 

Our wonderful floating staff get to spend their time at each of our sites, so you will get to see them around!

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sam

Senior FOREST EDUCAtional leader

Sam has a BA in Primary Education and has been an early years teacher since 2014. During this time, he has seen the benefits of outdoor play, and the impact it can have on children’s wellbeing and their attitude to learning.

Sam believes that child-led provision based on both the children’s interests and the skills they need to develop are important to teaching in the early years. He is excited to work somewhere which not only shares these beliefs, but allows children to explore and learn about nature and the world around them.

Sam enjoys reading, football and good quality knitwear (provided by his grandparents). He is currently working towards completing his level 3 forest school leader training.

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gemma

Forest nursery play worker

Gemma was born and raised in South London.  She spent many years working as a play worker for children with special needs within the city before taking the time out to study Creative Metalwork in the countryside.  This not only fuelled her creativity but inspired a love for the outdoors, finding peace and inspiration offered by the natural surroundings.

She recently spent time in Southern Italy, living on an organic farm where she was regularly involved in children's educational activities within a natural, outdoor environment, as well as teaching English.

She is a firm believer that this natural setting provides endless, positive opportunities for children to grow into happy, independent and resilient individuals.  The natural curiosity of children is greatly nurtured by the outdoors and it gives them the space to explore, experiment, be inspired and learn through play, whilst also encouraging a love and appreciation for the natural world around us.

Katie

Forest nursery play worker

Katie has recently graduated with a degree in Classical Civilisation. During her course she travelled to see the incredible ancient sites in Greece and Rome.

Katie has a range of experience working with children in a volunteer capacity through a long association with GirlGuiding. Katie was a Young Leader and regularly led campfire singsongs. Katie has worked the last four summer seasons swinging through the forest as a high ropes instructor, encouraging children to have fun and challenge themselves and face their fears in the treetops.

Little Forest Folk combines Katie’s love for the outdoors and the rewards of helping children develop their love of nature.  

 
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Selina

Forest Nursery Play Worker

Selina grew up in Switzerland where she spent her childhood in the woods behind her house and in the school holidays she would love to go up into the mountains to camp and explore.

Before moving to London, Selina has worked as a kindergarten teacher for five years. Her approach during that time was to take learning as much as possible outside the classroom. Now she brings this same spirit and infectious zest for nature to Little Forest Folk.

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NAFISA

CPD Guru

Nafisa has five years' experience in working with early years. She completed her Level 3 Diploma in Childcare at Kingston College and has completed a number of training courses since, including Supervisory Training, Supporting EAL, Outdoor Provisions and Behaviour Management.

Nafisa recently arrived back home to the UK after moving to the Middle East to help set up a nursery based on the EYFS.

Nafisa believes that children learn best through first hand experiences therefore it is vital to provide them with authentic materials and tools to help them delve deeper into exploration.