The Outdoors Group Kindergarten

Welcome to our unique outdoor pre-school, set within beautiful woodland, just minutes from Exeter.

You’ll find Exeter Forest School Kindergarten in the village of Shillingford St George, just on the outskirts of Exeter. The pre-school is set within beautiful woodlands, with access to a neighbouring stream and field.

Children enjoy exploration walks, occasional visits to neighbouring Shillingford Organics Farm and time spent splashing in the stream.  

We have a cosy cabin, fitted with a wood burning stove for use in the winter months, or on bad weather days where the children can play with books, puzzles and toys.

We take great pride in following the Forest School ethos:

  • Using nature and the outdoors as a platform to help nurture children’s holistic development.  
  • Learning through long periods of uninterrupted play.
  • Building self-esteem.
  • Letting children lead their own learning, in topics that interest them.
  • Allowing children to learn how to manage their own risk.

We track children’s development through the early years foundation stage, using a secure online diary system called Baby’s Days. Parents/carers can access this at any time to view photos and diary entries of their child.

Meet the Kindergarten team

Robert Cartwright
(Acting Manager)

A qualified teacher with a specialisation in Early Years, Rob is passionate about the concept that nature offers a classroom beyond the confines of four walls. As well as advocating and developing outdoor learning facilities during his time as a teacher he has also worked with Devon Wild life Trust as an Environmental Education Officer encouraging young people to become more passionate about ecology and our local wild spaces.

Emma Sheffield
Manager (Maternity Leave)

Emma, has over 7 years experience working with children, 6 of those in the outdoors. She is a Level 3 Forest School Leader and has a Level 3 Diploma for Children and Young People’s Work Force. Once work in the Kindergarten is finished, you’ll find Emma planning her next adventure whether that’s canoeing, climbing, snowboarding, cycling or hiking! Her love of the outdoors, and wanting to inspire the next generation to get out and experience it, is what gives her enthusiasm and drive for the Kindergarten.

Fabrianne (Fab) Rowell
Assistant Manager

Our Deputy Manager, Fabrianne, joined the team after falling in love with the Forest School way of life when her little one attended Kindergarten. She started by volunteering with us before going on to do her Level 3 Forest School Leader training. She holds a Cued Speech Level 1 qualification and is in the process of doing her Early Years Educator level 3. Her sunny disposition always brings a smile to our faces.

Opening times and term dates

The Kindergarten is open term time only, 38 weeks of the year. Children bring a packed lunch with them, and are provided with a healthy morning and afternoon snack.
Monday 9am-3pm
Tuesday 9am-3pm
Wednesday 9am-3pm

Spring 2019
Monday 7th January – Wednesday 6th February
Monday 25th February – Wednesday 3rd April
Summer 2019
Tuesday 23rd April – Wednesday 22nd May
Monday 3rd June – Wednesday 24th July

Fees and funding

The Kindergarten is Ofsted registered and you can use your 15 hours Early Years Entitlement Funding with us. If you use up all your funding elsewhere then you can also fee pay.

We accept the new 30 hours free childcare. You can split this funding too and use forest school as an additional setting to another pre-school or nursery.

You can use a combination of funded hours and fee paying.

Our fees are £5 per hour, therefore a full day costs £30.

Flexi Schooling places cost £45 per full day.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions about funding.

Children in nature

Useful links and downloads

30 hours free/Tax-free childcare

You can check whether you’re eligible via Childcare Choices. There’s also a Childcare Calculator so you can work out the number of free hours you can accessIf you’re eligible for funding, you’ll be directed to the digital childcare service to apply online.

Go to Childcare calculator

The Spotty Book: Notes on infectious diseases in schools and nurseries

Unsure whether to send your child to the Kindergarten? The Spotty Book describes the most common childhood illnesses, including symptoms, infectious incubation periods and treatments. Issued by Public Health England South West.

Read More


Robert Cartwright is the Kindergarten’s Safeguarding Officer. Please refer to our Safeguarding Policy for further details if you have any concerns for a child.  

Read More

Kindergarten Parent Handbook

Download Exeter Forest School Kindergarten’s handbook and policy notes. Everything you need to know about your child attending our kindergarten.


What to expect when - a parent's guide

This document offers guidance on your child’s learning and development in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). It will help you understand how we track your child’s progress and work on their development. 

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Ofsted Parent View

Tell Ofsted what you think about the Kindergarten, from the quality of teaching to dealing with issues such as poor behaviour. The survey can be completed at any time, not just when the setting is being inspected.

Read More

Our Ofsted Report

View the full Ofsted report for the kindergarten. We are currently rated Good


Get in touch

If you’re interested in enrolling your child, please contact our manager, Emma Sheffield, to arrange a visit to Exeter Forest School Kindergarten. We’d love to meet you and give your child a feel for our forest school pre-school.

You can read more about the Kindergarten and what the children get up to day-to-day in this blog by Emma: Free childcare at Exeter Forest School Kindergarten.

You can also keep up to date with news and find out more about our kindergarten on our Facebook page

Email: kindergarten@swoutdoorsgroup.co.uk
General Enquiries: 01392 832399 / 07716002516

If you need to contact us when there is a session running (e.g. you are running late or need to pick up a child early): 07780 595300

We also have a direct Kindergarten mobile where you can reach Emma but if you have questions, or need to book some time, please call on a Thursday when Emma isn’t in the forest: 07780 595300.

Or fill in the form at the bottom of this page.

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