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Free Forest School: Empowering Parents to Help Young Children Learn and Grow in Nature

photo of ME's Free Forest School guest, Anna SharrattIt’s amazing to see what children can learn and discover when we turn them loose to dig in the dirt, splash in the water or follow a bug to see where it goes. Yet many of us parents are uncomfortable venturing beyond structured playgrounds or unsure how much direction and protection to provide when we dare to take our children into a less predictable natural setting.


So Anna Sharratt, outdoorswoman and mom of two young children, decided to develop a simple, sustainable approach to bring parents and kids together in New York, Texas, Minnesota and elsewhere across North America. Dubbed “Free Forest School,” Anna’s model has helped thousands of parents and kids reap the benefits of nature play, come rain or shine. In this week’s Mom Enough discussion, learn how you can participate in a Free Forest School group.


The health and education benefits of nature play have been well-documented and widely publicized, yet too many American children still do not have opportunities to explore nature. Why do you think that is so? With your own children, what have you done to give them opportunities for free play and exploration in nature? What has helped or hindered you from making sure your kids (and you) reap the benefits of nature? Will you join a Free Forest School group or start a group in your community?


To learn more about Free Forest School, click here.

To find a Free Forest School near you, click here.

To contact Free Forest School, click here.

For an article about outdoor learning in Sweden, click here.

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  1. Carol Raabe on October 24, 2017

    What a nice interview, Anna. Finally, I understand what Free Forest School is! It was fun to hear Marti again, too. We knew each other years ago, though the exact context escapes me.

  2. Brenda on November 9, 2017

    We LOVE free forest school. Such a blessing that we have beautiful nature spaces for kids to play outside and be immersed in all things nature. Thank you Anna!