forest school training
for the 21st century


The Hive is a response to the growing disconnect from nature more and more children experience. This affects not only their wellbeing but their ability to care for the natural world and how they apply the skills they develop as they grow up to the environmental challenges we all face.

Based in London, The Hive delivers Accredited Forest School Training that focuses on innovative ways to engage pupils in Forest School, particularly in urban environments where access to outdoor space is constrained.  We provide Level 2 Forest School Assistant and Level 3 Forest School Leader training, as well as Forest School Taster Sessions, and Forest School Inset Days for schools based in and around London.


Our mission is to help children:

1. Spend more time outdoors and in nature

3. Develop sustainable values and behaviours

4. Bridge the gap between FOREST SCHOOL, critical skills & creativity

The Hive is a Social Enterprise, which was founded in 2014 by Caroline Leroi. We are Ofsted registered (registration EY497153) and have a £5m Forest School Public Liability Insurance with Birnbeck Insurance, an insurance company specialising in Forest School. 




Forest School is a creative process, that offers young people regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. It is a specialised learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education. Its roots date back to early years pioneers in outdoor learning in Scandinavia.


  • Make Forest School as relevant as possible to urban schools by developing and showcasing "urban" activities and innovative uses of outdoor spaces in our training programme

  • Connect Forest School experiences to key curriculum outcomes (especially literacy, STEM, arts and DT) to support pupils within primary school settings, from early years to the end of KS2, to experience an enriched, broad and balanced curriculum

  • Build the skills that Forest School is uniquely placed to nurture in children and suggest theories, approaches and methodologies to support children's Forest School learning in this area, particularly persistence, problem-solving, creativity and collaboration

  • Ensure that our training programme includes approaches and activities to help children develop sustainable values and behaviours and an awareness of environmental challenges

  • Ensure that our programme has a strong element of "how to learn", not just "what to learn" by articulating the learning process, not just the resulting "products"




Our Forest School Training programmes are accredited through National Awarding Organisation OCNWM, one of the most experienced Forest School Accreditation providers in the UK. 


We are accredited to deliver the following:
1. Forest School Assistant Qualification (Course ID 139287)
2. Forest School Leader Qualification (Course ID 139288)

Our OCNWM Centre Number is 61223. 


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We are members of the Forest School Association, which is the professional body for Forest School, promoting best practice and cohesion. We are also members of the Institute of Outdoor Learning, who support best practice in the outdoors.



Nicola McKnight - LEAD TRAINER

Nikki is a qualified primary school teacher who has taught in a variety of primary schools in London for 20 years, as a classroom teacher and subject leader. More recently she worked as a nursery practitioner within outdoor nursery settings.  She is a Level 3 Forest school practitioner. Her passion is driven by supporting children and adults to experience the benefits of regular learning experiences within a local natural environment. She loves being in a woodland space and enjoys helping others discover the joy of being part of that natural world using exploration and self directed play. Nikki is driven by the belief that we can all become the resilient, courageous and lifelong learners we would all like to be and that a life outdoors can play a fundamental part of helping us on that journey. 




Marlon is an experienced Level 3 Forest School Leader, as well as a primary school teacher. 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 feels very strongly that the natural world is the perfect match for a child’s innate curiosity, offering them a limitless resource for new opportunities and experiences.


Stave Hill Ecological Park
Timber Pond Road
London, SE16 6AX

Stave Hill Ecological Park is managed by The Conservation Volunteers as a nature reserve, educational facility, research area and place of recreation. The Park has been designed and managed to form a mosaic of grassland, woodland, scrub and wetland habitats which support a wide variety of wildlife.

This mosaic of habitats have been created from scratch by sowing and planting the poor soil. In some places it has been improved or altered by the addition of sand, spent mushroom compost and a variety of mulches. The Park is intensively managed to conserve the wide variety of wildlife that colonised the area during the years the docks lay derelict and provide a haven for some of the species that lived here before humans so changed the land.

More information about Stave Hill Ecological Park can be found here.