Who We Are and What We Do

Jun 27, 2019

“Nature is not a place to visit. Nature is home.” -Gary Snyder

…It’s time for us to return home. To the expansive stillness that allows us to feel whole, complete and worthy.

At the Aishling Forest School, our vision is to return the magic to childhood- for our children and within us.

Aishling pronounced ASH-ling is Gaelic for dream or vision and is derived from the birthplace of forest fairies. Our unique enrichment program was created to be a place where the magic of childhood runs free and nature is the greatest teacher to connect with yourself, each other and Mama Earth. Here, in our home in the woods, learners (young and old) will feel a deep sense of belonging, both in the natural world and in a community of people.

Forest School is an inspirational process that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees. Forest School is a specialized learning approach that sits within and compliments the wider context of outdoor and woodland education. I like to say that if the Montessori, Waldorf, Scouting and Woodworking educational movements had a baby, it would be Forest School.

The ethos of Forest School is based on a fundamental respect for children and young people and their capacity to investigate test and maintain curiosity in the world around them. It believes in children’s right to play; the right to access the outdoors (and in particular a woodland environment;) the right to access risk and the vibrant reality of the natural world; the right to experience a healthy range of emotions, through all the challenges of social interaction, to build resilience that will enable continued and creative engagement with their peers and their potential.

Our mission is to nurture the seeds of connection that are in every person from birth: connection to self, others, nature and ancestral skills and knowledge. Forest School is based more on the process of learning than it is on the content- more on the how than the what. This means that genuine forest school practice steps boldly out of the shadow and limitation of planned activities and ventures collaboratively into the realms of the unplanned, unexpected and ultimately unlimited.

Significantly, and on many levels, a woodland environment is central in supporting this very dynamic approach to learning; the passage of time from the changing of the seasons, to the contemplation of an ancient tree; the dynamic, stimulating yet grounding and calming nature of an outdoor environment-an infinite source of smells, textures, sounds and tastes; a range of visual stimuli from near to far, high to low, very big to very small; and the many layers of historical, cultural, spiritual and mythological significance that speak of our deep relationship with trees, woodland and nature through the ages.


287 S. Country Road Brookhaven, NY 11719

105 Prospect Road Centerport, NY 11721

Phone: 917.705.0046

Proud Member of FSA
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