Northern Rhode Island Forest School

Northern Rhode Island
Forest School

Come see what you can find in the forest.

We provide families in Rhode Island, southeastern and central Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut with 2-hour Forest School enrichment programs. With classes held at our nature classroom in the Wolf Hill Forest Preserve in Smithfield, Rhode Island, we use an experiential, learner-led approach to help each individual confidently explore the world and develop a love of learning. Our programs allow participants to grow and thrive socially, emotionally, physically, and academically. Each class is developed to suit the particular location, set of students, and season.  Held in 6-week sessions, we encourage learners to participate year-round to get the full outdoor learning experience!

Please note: As we do not offer drop-off programs, a parent or guardian must accompany their child to each class. Our programs are designed to enrich both the adult’s and child’s appreciation for nature while fostering a sense of community rooted in caregiver-child relationships.

We know summer gets busy – sign up for the full 6-week session, or pick your choice of 4 classes within the 6-week session.

GIFT CERTIFICATES

Experiences make the best memories, and they make great gifts!
Purchase a Northern Rhode Island Forest School gift certificate and give your loved ones the experience of one of our upcoming 6-week programs.

Click here to buy a gift certificate today! 

About Us

Lindsey

Lindsey is a literacy and language teacher with 14 years of classroom experience working in North Attleboro Public Schools. She is a certified K-12 reading specialist, interested in how children acquire the language and reading comprehension skills necessary to succeed in scientific disciplines. 

Lindsey is passionate about the benefits of learning in a natural setting, particularly as they apply to neurodivergent students. She sees clearly how outdoor learning supports and enhances children’s literacy and language education.

Diana

Diana has a B.S. in environmental science and worked as a wetland scientist for 20 years before co-founding Northern Rhode Island Forest School and joining the faculty at The Wheeler School’s 6th Grade Farm Program. She has a deep understanding of Rhode Island’s natural resources and truly loves bringing joy, knowledge, and self-confidence to learners in the forest environment. She is certified as a Level 3 Forest School Leader through Forest Schools Education, an internationally recognized program. Earning this certification gives Diana the skills and experience to guide learners safely and effectively.

Having experienced first-hand the power of nature to help us heal, grow, and learn, Diana is determined to fight “nature deficit disorder” by getting children and adults off of screens and into the woods.

Why Outdoor Learning?

Research in pediatric medicine, neuroscience, psychology, and education has shown that time in nature leads to numerous benefits for children’s social, emotional, physical and academic development.

A growing body of research suggests that Forest School programs:

  • Provide huge benefits to student mental health and academic performance (Rios & Brewer, 2014)
  • Promote healthy development in a stimulating learning environment (Louv, 2005; Selhub & Logan, 2012; Maynard, 2007)
  • Enhance opportunities for free play, such as access to ‘loose parts’ that inspire creativity (Gray, 2013; Hughes, 2009)
  • Allow learners to take appropriate risks to learn risk assessment and self-regulation (Gill, 2010)
  • Foster social skills and peer-group relations (Knight, 2013; Porter, 2003)
  • Nurture a connection to the natural world and an understanding of environmental stewardship (Chawla, 2007; O’Brien, 2009)

Come see how learning and the outdoors go hand-in-hand.

Sign up for one of our enrichment programs and start the adventure!

Our Mission

Northern Rhode Island Forest School offers inclusive outdoor educational enrichment programs that encourage development of creativity, curiosity, and individuality. Throughout each program, we implement experiential, place-based, inquiry-based education through year-round immersion in nature to help learners develop socially, emotionally, physically, and academically. By participating in our programs, learners become part of a community from which they receive opportunities and resources that support their scientific literacy education and understanding of environmental stewardship.

By modeling and encouraging responsible use of the ecosystems in which we live and work, we aim to preserve, restore, enhance and develop a greater appreciation for the natural spaces around us.

Our Service Area

Our nature classroom is located at the Wolf Hill Forest Preserve in Smithfield, Rhode Island.  From this home base, we serve the communities of northern and central Rhode Island (from Exeter to Woonsocket and Cumberland), central and southeastern Massachusetts (including Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, and Mendon), and eastern Connecticut (From Putnam to Plainfield).  

"In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks."
-John Muir