Forest School Pedagogy and Indigenous Educational Perspectives

Where They Meet, Where They Are Far Apart, and Where They May Come Together
Living reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


While Forest Schools are increasingly popular in Canada and their work of connecting children to nature and enacting a new pedagogy for learning outdoors is important, how do Forest Schools, as places of learning in nature and on the land, connect with Indigenous ways knowing, learning, and teaching? This question is significant in the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as Canada is in the midst of recognizing the injustice of its treatment of Indigenous Peoples and working toward reconciliation. Through a review of literature, this chapter examines the ways that Forest School pedagogy and Indigenous educational perspectives may meet, may be far apart, and may come together. How do notions of nature and land, risk, and resilience differ from western understandings? What does decolonization mean? How does place-based education connect with Indigenous understandings of land as first teacher? As a settler and early childhood educator, the author is situated in this learning journey as “coming to know” (Cajete, Native science: Natural laws of interdependence. Clear Light Publishers, Sante Fe, 2000). Drawing on Indigenous and settler scholars offers insight into the complex differences between Forest School pedagogy and Indigenous educational perspectives and offers guidance on how (re)positioning Forest Schools in the context of settler colonialism reframes the premise of how Forest School may incorporate, embed, and be reshaped by Indigenous educational perspectives.


Forest School pedagogy Indigenous educational perspectives Place-based education Risk and resilience Decolonization 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Early Childhood StudiesRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada

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