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Image by Matthew Smith

Chasing wonder

Embodied presence and intentional storytelling to reconnect with the magic of nature

16 August 2024

07:00 AM-9:00 AM AEST | 5:00 PM-7:00 pm EDT

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote:


"To speak truly, few adult persons can see nature. Most persons do not see the sun. At least they have a very superficial seeing. The sun illuminates only the eye of the man but shines into the eye and the heart of a child. The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other, who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood."

We often appreciate nature with our senses, but are we open and receptive enough to truly see its magic? Can our experience of the natural world be once again flooded with childlike wonder and delight?

In this foundational workshop we explore practices that help us enter a state of full sensory perception and body awareness while immersed in a natural environment. With this new embodied presence, we employ Restorative Storytelling tools to craft stories. Intentional, healing, transformational stories that shimmer with wonder and awe.


Imagine for a moment: A gentle breeze rustles through the trees; silver fairy rings of lichen uncover a forgotten path. Somewhere, hidden in the forest, a story begins to unfold. The natural world speaks to us. It calls us, whispers, sings, sometimes bellows. Can we listen - truly - to this Earth song and share its magic with others? 

Storytelling for connection


Before there was writing, there was storytelling. Oral stories is how human beings have preserved and passed on knowledge, spirituality, and wisdom since the beginning of time. The storyteller has long inhabited a sacred space  - custodian, healer.

Stories are nourishment for the soul - particularly in our fast world. Stories are magic - they can take us anywhere. Stories can heal - often reminding us that what we need is already within us.


The art of Restorative Storytelling - as opposed to persuasive storytelling or stories as pure entertainment - can helps us find meaning, a deeper awareness and a sense of belonging.  Weaving narratives with an embodied presence and receptiveness to the natural world, Chasing wonder is an introductory, yet deeply transformative course delivered entirely online, created educators, teachers, professionals, parents, change-makers and all those who want to find their voice and harness the power of storytelling and nature to heal, transform and build community.​ 

Image by Dabir Bernard

"The stories we create and the stories we tell will ultimately become the fabric of our life."

  • What is forest schooling?
    Forest school, also known as bush kindy, forest kindy, farm school and a wide range of other terms, can be defined as offering children regular and ongoing, uninterrupted immersion programs in natural wild spaces, allowing participants to develop meaningful relationships with nature, others and themselves. It fosters resilience through physical and emotional risk taking, exposure to the elements of weather, dirt, plants, rocks and water sources and support for the natural flow and rhythm of participant’s intuitive play. The forest school approach is grounded on the following values: Regular nature immersion Connection to Country Free play and natural learning Inclusivity and accessibility Mentoring practices Sustainable practice
  • What do children do at forest school?
    The activities that happen at forest school vary depending on the season, climate, landscape, the children attending and most importantly, their interests. Some activities are facilitated, but rather than being adult-led each child chooses and tailors the activity to suit them, while the leaders observe their preferences and development. Sometimes children will work independently, other times will work as a team in order to create something, support one another, or solve a problem. What all forest schools have in common is an approach to early childhood education that focuses on outdoor play and fosters environmental stewardship. The activities are child-led and play-based. Children learn through direct experience, through their five senses and by using their innate curiosity and sense of wonder.
  • Is it dangerous?
    Forest school mentors are trained to risk assess both the environment and the activity. We constantly look for possible hazards and put control measures in place to keep the children in our care as safe as possible. Our job is to make the environment as safe as possible for children to benefit from risky play and experience nature in its truest form. ​ Some activities may seem ‘risky’ - such as climbing trees, or using tools - but they are in fact managed so well that the benefits far outweigh the risk.
  • Are you an actual school?
    No, we are not a school in the traditional sense, nor a daycare or kindy provider. We classify as a children recreation provider offering nature based activities and nature connection programs for both children and adults. Forest schools offer children an alternative way to learn that uses the great outdoors as the classroom and nature and all it has to offer as their learning instruments.
  • Does forest school continue in all weathers?
    Forest school is an all outdoor experience that takes place in all weather, including cool, rainy days. Layered clothing and good waterproofs and footwear will protect us from the worst of the weather. Mentors are responsive to the weather conditions and how the children are managing. If it is raining, we can put up tarps for shelter and encourage active activities such as running games, building shelter or digging and sawing. We can also light a campfire and serve some warming hot chocolate. We keep a close eye on the weather forecast and in line with our weather risk assessments. We only cancel if very heavy persistent rain is forecast for most of the day or if very strong wind is forecast, where there would be a danger of falling branches. Very rarely have we recommended individual children be collected as, despite our best efforts, they have become cold and unhappy, but by and large, most children cope well with adverse weather, providing they are dressed appropriately they often get the relish the conditions.
  • How do you minimise the risks and keep children safe?
    At forest school, children are encouraged to develop their awareness of safety by taking managed risks in a controlled environment. We carry out risk assessments for all our activities and sites and have a range of policies and procedures for specific activities e.g. location, tool use and fire. Our qualified and experienced forest school leaders carry out on-going risk assessments, assessing changing conditions and situations to enable all participants to take part safely. Practicing these protocols with the children is an integral part of our curriculum, which cultivates important lifelong skills and the tools necessary for resiliency, self-sufficiency, and confidence — not only in the wilderness but in everyday life. Risks are minimised, but they can’t be eliminated. The occasional cut, bruise or bump are part of life and need to be balanced against the many benefits including learning through exploration, gaining independence, self-confidence and enjoyment.
  • What rules do you have at forest school?
    The rules of forest school can be broken down into 3 main areas - these are: to look after yourself, look after each other and look after the environment. In addition, there are specific rules particularly relating to fires, tool use and tree climbing. The boundaries within which children are allowed to play are also specified to keep children safe.
  • Can parents come with their child?
    Forest school is a drop-off program. We understand, however, that separating from your child - even if just for a few hours - can be extremely difficult; we are here to support you both during this important transition. If you are concerned about how your child will settle into forest school, please discuss it with us. Our mentors are skilled in helping children integrate, overcome issues and find their feet. By working together we can make the transition easy and enjoyable for everyone. We find that children can behave differently when their parents are present and can rely on them for support rather than making new friends and using their own initiative, therefore missing out on the benefits such as independence, self-reliance and confidence. We have often seen shy children or those lacking in confidence transform through forest school. If you are looking to engage in play with your child you can book in to our Little Explorer Nature Playgroup where parents and children from 18 months - 6 years are welcome.
  • Why can’t I book individual days?
    The reason we offer full term for our forest school program to begin with is because of the nature of a forest school. Children gain from experiencing the full program and the repeated visits to the woods as part of a community of children, with child-led planning and reflection a key feature of the forest school approach. Children who miss days miss some of that development and it undermines the dynamic to have different children attending on different days. As mentors we notice children may have to catch up if they miss the establishment of the groups and the ground rules on the first day. We only offer individual casual days if spaces open up (for example when families are on holidays or need days off due to special circumstances).
  • What qualifications do your mentors have?
    Our mentors can come from different paths and backgrounds - some are early childhood educators and teachers, some are qualified in outdoor recreation. We all have different gifts and interests to offer and share, but what we do have in common is: - previous, extensive experience working with children - first aid certification - an immense love for nature and play. The lead mentors are qualified to Forest School Programme Leadership, and have outdoor paediatric first aid certificate. A forest school day is usually staffed by 1 forest school leader, and 1 or 2 qualified mentors. All mentors and volunteers are WWCH.
  • What if I need to swap days or I can’t make it?
    If you know that your child will be absent, please let us know – preferably via text or through our private WhatsApp chat. Please note that we are unable to reimburse you for missed days. If you know you will be away for an extended period of time, and will be missing more than one session, please let us know. We might be able to offer that spot to another family on a casual basis, and reimburse you for those weeks if another family can take your spot. If we cancel due to extreme weather, a make up day option will be offered.


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