External Links: methods & approaches

This links page is a bit different to the others. It features a range of approaches and styles that are used to work with people, particularly children, in the outdoors.

We’re signposting the national bodies and key organisations where you can find out more, and also articles on the ethos and methods used to benefit people outdoors. There’s a brief explanation of the approach we’re addressing at the top of each section.

Click on a tab to see the links in that section.

We do our best to keep these links up to date. If you find any broken or outdated links or have something you think should be added, please email share@muddyfaces.co.uk with ‘links’ in the subject line. Thank you.

Alternative education using the outdoors as a learning tool.

A2Z Home’s Cool

Community website for homeschoolers from preschool, kindergarten, up to and through high school, free online education, lesson ideas, links, articles, books, materials, curriculum & kids area.

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Alternative Education Resource Organization

The primary hub for educational alternatives around the world – advancing student-driven, learner-centered approaches to education.


Ed Yourself Home Education Consultancy

The website of Fiona Nicholson who has given evidence to Government Committees on the subject of elective home education and offers support and information on home education practice and policy in England and Wales.

Education Otherwise

Information & resources for home educating families & those considering home education for the first time, including guidance on home education & the law, SEN and disabilities; downloadable fact sheets covering many aspects of HE; and links to local HE groups across the UK.

Home Education Advisory Service

Dedicated to the provision of advice and practical support for families who wish to educate their children at home – lots of great resources available for members.

Home Education in the UK

Comprehensive personal blog site with lots of info on why and how to home educate – legalities, resources and great links list.

Home Education UK

Support & info for parents and professionals – legal issues, events, articles, background etc.

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“We specialize in the theory and practice of informal education, social pedagogy, lifelong learning, social action, and community learning and development” – exploring education, learning & community.

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International Montessori Index

Observing and supporting the natural development of children – this site has lots of info & resources.

Montessori Foundation

‘An independent source of assistance, encouragement, and support for the international Montessori community’ – lots of information & resources, FAQs, Find A School, etc.

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Montessori Method – Michael Olaf

Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading. Children learn at their own pace according to their own choices. Great site explaining the method.

MuddlePuddle Home Education

For home educators with younger children – lots of info links and articles, resource lists and information.

Simply Charlotte Mason

Explanations of and resources for using the CM method – “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”


Scotland’s national home education support charity – respected source of independent information for parents, carers and young people thinking about or already home educating.

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Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship

‘An unhurried, creative learning environment where children can find the joy in learning & experience the richness of childhood’ attending to the physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural & spiritual needs of each pupil, working with the different phases of their development.

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Too Much Too Soon Campaign

Believe that children in England are starting formal learning too early, that the value of their creative and expressive play is being undermined, and that they are subject to developmentally inappropriate pressures that are damaging to their long-term health and wellbeing. From Save Childhood Movement.

Mainsteam education using the outdoors as a learning tool.

Countryside Classroom

Where teachers can find and access the resources, places to visit and people to ask that will support their teaching about food, farming and the natural environment. Membership networking.

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Human Scale Education

Works with schools and parents to promote human scale learning environments where children and young people are known and valued as individuals.

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Learning Through Landscapes

UK charity dedicated to enhancing outdoor learning and play for children. Many free resources for teachers and parents – membership gives access to even more.

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OPAL Outdoor Play and Learning CIC

Works with schools, early years settings & organisations to improve the quality of outdoor play for children. Lots of useful free resources. “We create happier playtimes, better play spaces & enable staff to support outdoor learning”


School Farms Network

More than 110 schools with farms receive support and assistance, networking and exchange of ideas and information, including peer teacher support. Part of Social Farms and Gardens.

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Holistic play & learning engaging with nature & the outdoors.

See also our extensive Forest School page.

Forest Childcare Association

Childminders giving small children the opportunity to spend time in the great outdoors on a regular basis – members can become Forest Childcare Providers.

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FEN Forest Education Network

Bringing those with an interest in forest education together; to promote the sharing of good practice; improve communication and help raise opportunities for, and standards in delivery. Hosted by CLOtC.

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Forest Kindergarten Association

Directory & voice of forest kindergartens across the UK – preschool education where children are encouraged to play, explore and learn in a forest or natural environment. also known as a nature nursery, outdoor nursery, or forest preschool.

Forest School Association

The professional body and UK-wide voice for Forest School, promoting best practice, cohesion and ‘quality Forest School for all’ – find a provider or a trainer and excellent Forest School Knowledge Base.

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Forest School Camps

“The outdoors demands & encourages learning. At camp we aim to teach ourselves how to live with independence & responsibility; concern & care for ourselves, other people & the environment; resourcefulness & self-confidence; tolerance & respect”.

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Forest School Training

Nationwide training but also lots of info on history, research and ethos of Forest School.

Forest School Wales

Works to ensure that throughout Wales there is sustainable Forest School provision supported by a national network that will nurture the development of projects, offer advice, provide resources, guide best practice and provide CPD.

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Institute for Outdoor Learning

Developing quality, safe opportunities to experience outdoor activity provision and supporting and enhancing the good practice of those who work in the outdoors.

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myForest for Education

‘An easy-to-use and free online application that enables any educator, or young person, to generate straightforward woodland management plans, maps and ecological impact assessments for woodland sites and school grounds.’ From the Sylva Foundation.

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Outdoor & Woodland Learning (OWL) Scotland

“Dedicated to increasing the use of Scotland’s outdoor environments for learning.” Tons of excellent resources & Forest School info.

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Nurturing respect, understanding & love for the outdoors to promote sustainability.

Foundation for Environmental Education

Global network promoting sustainable development through environmental education. Programmes include Blue Flag, Young ReportersLearning About Forests & Eco-Schools.

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John Muir Trust

“Dedicated to restoring, protecting and defending wild places.” Offers the John Muir environmental award scheme, encouraging people to connect with, enjoy, and care for wild places.

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Journal of Sustainability Education

Research, practices, and initiatives that integrate dimensions of sustainability within formal and non-formal educational contexts.

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National Association for Environmental Education

Promote all forms of environmental education, and support all those involved in its delivery. Members receive free journals & other benefits.

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Open Space

Research centre for inclusive access to outdoor environments: benefits of getting outdoors & the barriers experienced by different users, particularly disadvantaged groups.

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Real World Learning Network

Exploring and sharing successful approaches to outdoor learning that increase action for sustainable development: frameworks, resources, events.

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‘Exploring human-nature relations and seeking sustainable solutions to modern-living.’ Major section on outdoor education research and evaluation.

Young People’s Trust for the Environment YPTE

Charity which aims to encourage young people’s understanding of the environment and of the need for sustainability. Fun facts for kids, advanced info for teenagers and resources for parents and teachers.

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Formal groups that work outdoors some or all of the time.

Army Cadets
Air Training Corps
Combined Cadet Force
Sea Cadet Corps

Providing challenging military, adventurous and community activities, aiming to inspire young people to achieve success in life and to develop the qualities of a good citizen.

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Boys Brigade

A Christian youth organisation for children and young people from 5-18 – weekly groups, residentials, special events, community involvement and training programmes to develop potential.

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Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

‘The world’s leading youth achievement award’ – using volunteering, physical activities, life skills and expeditions to give all young people aged 14-24 the chance to develop skills for life and work, fulfil their potential and have a brighter future.

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Girl Guiding

Giving girls and young women a space where they can be themselves, have fun, build brilliant friendships, gain valuable life skills and make a positive difference to their lives and their communities. Guides, rainbows and brownies.

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Girls Brigade

Christian organisation primarily for girls and young women, aged four to 18, who meet most weeks of the year in safe and friendly environments, offering fun groups and activities designed to help children and young people discover life to the full.

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Jewish Lads & Girls Brigade

Trains & develops young Jewish people to reach their potential through active citizenship, and encourages friendship through achievement, recognition & personal development programmes, to develop the essential life skills needed to transition into adult life.



Offering 6-25-year-olds fun and challenging activities, unique experiences, everyday adventure and the chance to help others and make a positive impact in communities – includes beavers, cubs & venture scouts.

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The outdoors as an opportunity to contribute to a community and/or use spare time.

Association of Countryside Volunteers

For everyone who works as a Countryside Volunteer in the UK.

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Good Gym

A community of runners that combine getting fit with doing good: run in a pack to work on a community project, do one-off missions to help vulnerable people or commit to visiting an isolated older person.

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Changing places, changing lives – one green step at a time. Volunteer and community projects.

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TCV The Conservation Volunteers

Looking after the environment, both through its own green projects and by supporting local people to volunteer.

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TCV Green Gym

Exercise to make a difference – fun and free outdoor sessions where you are guided in practical activities such as planting trees, sowing meadows and establishing wildlife ponds- volunteers warm up and cool down in preparation for a range of light to vigorous activities to suit all abilities.

The Wildlife Trusts

Dedicated to the protection of nature, with 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK: Scottish Wildlife TrustWildlife Trusts WalesWildlife Watch children’s section with activities & games and 30 Days Wild in June.

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Offering informal social education opportunities, sometimes outdoors.

British Youth Council

Empowering young people to have a say and be heard – supporting them to get involved in their communities & democracy locally, nationally and internationally, making a difference as volunteers, campaigners, decision-makers and leaders.

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European Confederation of Youth Clubs

Represents a European network of youth work and youth club organisations that practice and promote open youth work and non-formal education.


European Youth Forum

The voice of young people in Europe, where young people are equal citizens and are encouraged and supported to achieve their fullest potential as global citizens.

European Youth Forum

National Youth Agency

Championing the role of youth workers and supporting & enabling them to do what they do better.

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Prince’s Trust

Supporting 13 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed or struggling at school and at risk of exclusion. Giving them the practical & financial support needed to stabilise their lives, helping develop self-esteem & skills for work.

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UK Youth

Network of youth clubs & organisations ensuring that every young person moves from childhood to adulthood with the tools they need to become confident, capable adults who lead fulfilling lives, no matter how difficult their background.

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Woodcraft Folk

For children and young people – a place to grow in confidence, learn about the world and start to understand how to value our planet and each other.

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Young People’s Trust for the Environment YPTE

Charity which aims to encourage young people’s understanding of the environment and of the need for sustainability. Fun facts for kids, advanced info for teenagers and resources for parents and teachers.

Ypte Logo

Youth Action Northern Ireland

Works with young people to support them as active and equal citizens whose voices are heard, respected and valued.

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Youth Cymru

Work with youth clubs, service providers, charities, individuals and many companies in the corporate sector to help provide services and amenities for young people in Wales.

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Youth Scotland

Deliver quality youth work programmes, information, resources, training and support to community-based youth work.

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Youth United

A network of the UK’s largest and most established voluntary and volunteering youth organisations. ‘Our vision is that every young person in the UK has the opportunity to be a member of one of our organisations.’

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