Got to love Teacher Tom! I remember quoting Simon Nicholson in my first ever pitch. Still fundamental to our ethos..... ‘This is about more than tree cookies and toilet paper tubes and clothes pins. It’s about more than old tires, shipping pallets, and planks of wood. At it’s core, the theory of loose parts is a theory about democracy, about self-governance, and the rights and responsibilities of both individuals and groups to come together to shape their world according to their own vision.’
Stomping Grounds Forest School is a social enterprise working throughout North East England to bring communities together and reconnect them with nature. Find out more about who we are, what we do and what we believe in…
If you’re looking to start a career in outdoor education, or just want to spend more time outdoors, we’d love for you to come and join us at one of our beautiful sites throughout the North East.
What People Say...
My girl started at the under 5 group after she just turned two and has been going for the last 18 months. It has been a huge part in developing her deep connection with nature and her confidence in the outdoors. Our son has been going since he was born, and has now got his forest legs. It’s a great programme, that I also loved as an adult. We would still be there if we weren’t moving away. Really miss it.Dave Nguyen
I’ve spoken to Sophie who shared her aspirations for these woods and it will be fantastic for children to learn about our countryside and its diversity as well as its maintenance. I am really excited about these woods and that they have been saved for future generations.??Brian Hudspith
I have just completed my first term of Forest School with my almost 4 year old and 1.5 year old. It’s been a wonderful experience, the kids have flourished in the environment and they have had the freedom and responsibility to try activities that they would never have been able to try in a different setting. Sophie is a great facilitator, nothing is too much trouble and overall the atmosphere amongst the group has been really welcoming and friendly. Will be back again soon!Katy Madgwick
Myself and my little boy Oliver (13 months) have been going to the under 5’s session every Monday and we both love it! So nice to see kids getting involved in outdoor activities and being exposed to risk taking, decision making, nature and crafts in a family friendly way! Brought my 5 year old niece to the launch day and she has absolutely loved it and is really looking forward to coming for a few summer school sessions!Sarah Louise Glover
My toddler has been going to the under 5s sessions in Brockwell Woods for over a year now and we both love it. Sophie is wonderful and very good at getting small children engaged! MJ enjoys using tools and having the space to get clarty. She still has a small car which she made in forest school and carries everywhere proudly telling people that she made it. Its a lovely group for adults too – everyone is friendly and lends a hand. Would highly recommendHannah Sorley
Back to nature. Joseph really enjoyed his time with the Forest School,
just what every kid needs! Would recommendKatherine Fletcher
My two boys had the best two days with Stomping Ground Forest School during the Christmas holidays. They absolutely loved it. I dropped them off both days feeling great trepidation, especially on the first day when it rained literally all day, and both days they came home so full of everything they’d done and all the fun they’d had: crafts, making dens, campfires, roasting marshmallows, splashing in mud (or the ‘mud on your face game’ as my oldest called it)… My washing machine may never recover but am delighted they had such fun! Would recommend to anyone.Julia Louise
Fantastic bumps & babies session this afternoon. A very welcoming group to meet other parents and share a love of all things outdoors.
A huge thank you to the forest school leaders for trialing these new sessions! I can’t wait to bring my little one along to join in once he arrives ♥️Sadie Diamond-Fox
Stomping Grounds have been providing regular forest school sessions at our school for the last 4 years. Every class who work with them love the lessons and the opportunity to get up close to nature.
The forest school teachers are always highly professional and have excellent regard for the needs of individual children, as well as for the safety of the group. They form great relationships with the pupils and never fail to create interesting and inspiring learning that ensures our pupils always want to come back for more!Tim Godfrey, Mountfield Primary School
My 6 year old attended the Chopwell Forest School for the first time and he absolutely loved it! He’s not stopped talking about how much fun it was! Thank you!Angela Dennison
My son really loves his Saturday forest school adventures! He has grown in physical confidence and is much more daring in what he will do and attempt. He’s also much more comfortable with things like insects, muck and the stuff of nature! It’s a great way for children to explore the natural world, make new, non-school friendships and learn to cooperate, enjoy the outdoors and push their own boundaries. Out of school activities can be tricky if your child isn’t ‘sporty’ or doesn’t want to do drama, dance etc. Forest School is the perfect solution! I like how it has a good balance between structured and unstructured play too. Would recommend to all.Sarah Raad
5 days 4 hours ago
Who needs to meet Santa when you can make your own?! Under 5s used a saw and peeler, painting on a red hat and white beard, to create mini Santas 🎅🏼 Jess is jingling her way to lead our last session of the year next Monday, so I'll say thank you now to all the wonderful families who make Under 5s so special - it's just a joy to work at Dukes Hagg with you and I can't wait to see in the next season in 2020!
5 days 12 hours ago
So much of what I’ve been doing recently in both work and personal life has resonated with me, and everything seems to come back to the same principles. We need to own our feelings and express them freely and we need to support children to do the same. We need to develop awareness of self, others and environment to feel connected to those things. It’s ultimately what seems to be lost in today’s busy modern consumer society. Connection. 🙏
6 days 5 hours ago
Fantastic party today at Dukes Hagg in Prudhoe....hot dogs, hot chocolate, magic wands, magic river, wet children, happy children! Thanks Clara and Sarah for your magic. We run parties throughout the year, it’s never too cold or too wet to make magic in the woods. #BeWild #BelongTogether
Baby friendly community cafe in Low Fell needs your support to stay afloat....
Studies have proven that even looking at photos of nature is good for your mental health. That’s a start. Next step is bringing the outdoors in....so even being able to see and touch natural materials supports wellbeing. Then being out in it. Ultimately, connecting and engaging in some way with nature-working with wood, crafts, foraging, photographing, planting....all of these things have the highest impact. This was my view today. I hope it helps brighten up your day too.
1 week 4 days ago
Alexia Barrable from Dundee University spoke on Sunday about her research on Nature Connectedness and its impact on early years. In a nutshell, engagement with nature in early years improves nature connectedness which in turn positively impacts awareness of self, others and environment, which ultimately grows a generation of humans who see their place within the eco system not as superior to it. We need better nature connectedness if we want life on earth to be sustainable. https://discovery.dundee.ac.uk/en/publications/the-case-for-nature-connectedness-as-a-distinct-goal-of-early-chi Copy and paste above link into browser to read the full study
1 week 5 days ago
A beautifully crisp morning for Under 5s - perfect for making salt dough decorations and chocolatey porridge on the fire. Mixing, stirring, squeezing and moulding dough with their hands was a brilliant way to keep little fingers warm. Thanks to our excellent volunteer, Sandra, a salt dough expert. I had some fantastic help to keep our fire going - under 5s know their Birch and Larch kindling. We headed off to unknown lands with full tummies and discovered tree dens, puffballs and waterfalls. Our hot water bottles were a well used addition to the session and will be returning every week while it's chilly. See you next week for more festive makes!
1 week 6 days ago
Home, certificate in hand! This weekend covered sensory processing disorder, speech and language difficulties, nature connectedness, attachment theory, emotional regulation, play therapy and so much more. Watch this space to see how we put into into practice!
I can't wait to hear all about it! Will you be incorporating ideas into your usual sessions, or running sessions with this particular emphasis? Do you have a risk assessment for schools? This would be amazing for some of our pupils! Could you send me the SG postcode so I could see how far away you are from some of the children I have in mind? Thanks!
1 - 1 week 6 days ago
2 weeks 6 hours ago
Spotted outside of their natural habitat...Sophie & Suzanne in a shopping centre next to a fake tree that you’re not allowed to climb. Both reverted to flight mode and retreated to the safety of the open sky once they had fulfilled their primitive urge for food. Back in Manchester for the final 2 days of our Theraputic Skills training. Fascinating but emotional day learning about attachment theory, play therapy and embedding this in practice when working with looked after children. Or, as one of the other participants said that her adopted son had pointed out ... ‘aren’t all children ‘looked after’?’