Exeter Forest School 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.

Exeter Forest School Kindergarten logo

Meet the Kindergarten team

Emma Sheffield - South West Outdoors Group
Emma Sheffield

Emma manages our kindergarten and has over 7 years experience working with children, 6 of those being in the outdoors.
Once work in the Kindergarten is finished, you’ll find Emma planning her next adventure whether that’s canoeing, climbing, snowboarding, cycling or walking.
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.

Katie Robertson
Assistant Manager

Katie has more than 10 years experience working in Early Years. She qualified with a BTEC National Diploma in Childhood Studies (1998) and then a BA (hons) in Early Years (2007) at the University of Plymouth. Katie has worked in a variety of settings and most recently was the deputy manager at a local village pre-school. She’s a mum of two boys.

Fabrianne Rowell
Fabrianne Rowell
Childcare Assistant

After a year volunteering for us, Fabrianne discovered her love for working with littles ones in the great outdoors. She is currently doing her Forest School Leaders Level 3 course and has officially joined the team to help our little adventurers with forest themed crafts and exploring the woods. 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

Autumn 2017 
Monday 4th September – Wednesday 18th October
Monday 6th November – Wednesday 13th December

Spring 2018
Tuesday 2nd January – Wednesday 31st January
Monday 19th February – Wednesday 28th March

Summer 2018
Monday 16th April – Wednesday 23rd May
Monday 4th June – Wednesday 25th 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.

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

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

We will be accepting the new 30 hours free childcare from September 2017. You can split this funding too and use forest school as an additional setting to another pre-school or nursery.

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.

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This document offers advice and guidance on everything from signs and symptoms of abuse, to getting a referral. Emma Sheffield is the Kindergarten’s Safeguarding Officer. Please refer to our Safeguarding Policy for further details if you have any concerns for a child.  

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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

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
01392 832399

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

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