Some of our more recent testimonials
"We contacted several Forest School providers when we were setting up the EOTAS (Education Other Than At School) programme for our daughter. We selected Glastonbury Forest School, as it offered a rich experience in outdoor learning provision. The key practitioner Kelly Browne recognised the importance of taking a therapeutic approach to activities in addition to recognising the importance of sensory work with a young person with complex PTSD."
"Kelly Browne is a BSc (Hons) Psychology graduate and trained teacher, the opportunity for our daughter to immerse herself in nature and be alongside a highly experienced practitioner was a perfect solution to beginning a process of emotional repair. The work that our daughter engaged in offered her opportunities for positive learning experiences and us moments for celebration in the amazing artwork that she brought home"
"It has been a joy for us as parents to see how much D enjoys & values the Forest School 1:1 sessions with Kelly. She has been able to explore some of her difficult feelings and emotions in a safe and supportive environment. She has increased levels of resilience and self-esteem gained from outdoor learning with Glastonbury Forest School; these are vital skills for her future learning."
"When I started GFS I felt that in new situations, I was always ready to run away and I was in fear of my safety. Forest school helped me loads with improving my mental health and letting me know that I was able to manage. I love being outside and I feel much better about myself as a person and I like connecting with the wildlife and trees."
"My daughter L was a very shy, un self confident girl when we found out about the Forest School that Kelly ran. The first few sessions I attended and watched Kelly bring L out of her shell to a point L didn’t want me to stay anymore!! Every time L came back from a session she was bubbly and chatty telling me about everything they had done and what they had been taught and how much she enjoyed it. Over time, this developed into Kelly being a safe person for L to talk to about growing up and any life questions L had that a dad couldn’t necessarily answer!! Along with this Kelly has helped me with understanding L and her behaviours growing up with some amazing help and advice with suspected learning issues picking up on this that we didn’t know about. I will forever be grateful for the big impact that Kelly has had on L’s life at this most important stage of her growing up and developing. "
"I write this testimonial in regards the time my daughter RB has spent under the care of Kelly Browne as the teacher of Glastonbury forest school since first joining her group at 4.5 years of age. She is now 12 years old and continues to be a part of the Glastonbury Forest school.
Prior to joining the sessions RB found it very difficult/uncomfortable being left with another adult or in a group situation without me as she was very shy. She has sensory needs and until two years ago, was on a very strict dietary plan due to food reactions which left her feeling excluded in groups we had trialed prior. Almost immediately on meeting Kelly, I could sense RB felt very comfortable and I was able to leave her at the session. When I returned I was greeted with a huge grin from my daughter and that marked the beginning of a very much needed, consistent, confidence boosting 7 years! As Kelly's sessions are so inclusive, RB felt at ease from the start in regards her dietary needs, never feeling left out when cooking on the fire etc as Kelly provides options for all. RB is a very creative, fun girl and thrives from learning in an outdoor arena. Kelly has had a positive impact on RB during her time with Glastonbury FS, particularly around taking the time to offer RB space to simply be herself with the opportunity for social connections without pressure. The sessions and time with Kelly have led to a positive shift in confidence and self esteem. Her interests and achievements are celebrated with constant opportunities for her creativity to thrive. She particularly loves working with clay and nature based media and so the sessions give her that guaranteed space to explore nature creatively weekly. Kelly encourages friendships as a spring board for trying new things, moving beyond her comfort zone when ready e.g. jumping out of trees after many years of fearing heights, buddying up when learning fire building skills and so on. Kelly is open and curious about RB interests and driving these forwards offering tasks that she has suggested. Kelly responds to RB needs, communicating with her about anything she wishes to discuss. Her sharp eye for details, spotting unusual fungus, patterns within nature, fossils within stones and so forth is equally met with interest and response from Kelly. That which I believe would be discredited or ignored in a mainstream school environment is given airtime, giving RB a voice and placing importance on her visually attentive skills with Kelly encouraging the other children to further investigate what RB has found. This in turn lends to a sense of empowerment and her feeling valued amongst her peers, giving rise to boosted confidence and self-esteem levels. As a self-employed single Mother, Kelly's sessions have been a life line as I a can work freely knowing that RB is not only having fun but is learning, growing and thriving at each session. Kelly has been a solid anchor in and on our home education journey."
"I first met Kelly around six years ago after removing my daughter, M from mainstream education. M was 8 years old, and her school had repeatedly failed to cater to her needs. M is neurodiverse and at the time was suffering from poor mental health, anxiety, and depression. Right from the start, Kelly took the time to listen, show understanding, and earn M’s trust. Trust is a very big deal for M, especially after being let down by so many adults who were meant to help and protect her. To this day, Kelly is one of a small group of adults that M fully trusts to look after her, and put her needs first. M feels that she can talk to Kelly about anything, and knows that she will help her deal with any situation. Kelly has been able to reach M as an educator by working learning sessions around her needs, and making them relevant to the tasks at the forest school. Usually it is very difficult to keep M focussed on learning, but Kelly seems to have a knack. M suffers from sensory processing disorder, and can easily build to a point where she is completely overwhelmed. Kelly has learned to recognise the signs, and quickly intervene to stop M from crashing (sensory overload). She has created a dedicated safe space where M ca retreat and reset her senses to a point where she is able to rejoin the group. Kelly recognises that only time and space will allow M to get to a point where she feels safe to return to the group. This is something that M’s previous educators in mainstream school failed to do, which lead to major self-esteem issues. M will display various cues when she is building towards a crash, and Kelly can read these cues and act appropriately to diffuse and divert the situation before it becomes a problem. Kelly, and the forest school have been brilliant in identifying and nurturing M’s strengths. This has made learning an enjoyable experience, rather than a chore, or something to be feared. After M’s experience at mainstream school, it seemed like it would be impossible to get M interested in learning again, let alone enjoying it. M looks forward to forest school every week and would miss it greatly if she was no longer able to attend. As M has grown, Kelly has adapted her role within the forest school to include her as a role model for the younger members. M is a true mother hen who loves to look after younger children, so she has taken to this role very well. As one of the oldest members of the group she has enjoyed taking on more responsibility, which has boosted her self-esteem. It is difficult to express how much of an impact Kelly has had on M’s life, except to say that other than me and my partner, she has benefitted M more than any other adult in her life. Before meeting Kelly, M was riddled with anxiety, self-loathing, and didn’t want to be a part of the world. With Kelly’s patience, nurturing, and understanding, M has become a confident, caring, and happy teenager who wants to help other people.
I owe the greatest of thanks to Kelly."
“My 2 youngest children age 13 and 10 have been attending Glastonbury forest school for around 3 years, I have found it such a valuable service. My 13 year old son has special educational needs, he has sensory processing issues, developmental delays and is on the spectrum, professionals have said he wouldn't cope in a normal school and I would strongly agree. Before he started attending forest school I could never leave him. He struggled at home education groups we attended as a family despite going since he was 2 years old and being familiar places, he was easily overwhelmed, struggled with social activities and choose to cling to me wanting to leave or isolated himself most of the time, he struggled to communicate when something was wrong. He sat under the table by my feet for a children’s home ed Christmas party with children he'd known for many years. We would struggle to try new groups as he couldn't cope which then meant his sister also missed out as I had to try to keep him regulated which took all my attention. He struggled to self-regulate and wouldn't participate in anything external to the home, he wouldn't engage in music therapy at Bibic either (age 10 or 11) and chose to hide behind me and investigate boxes instead. I couldn't even put him to bed at night and leave the room. I spent 3 ½ hours every night for 11 years sitting on his floor next to his bed to get him to sleep only for him to end up in my bed 10 minutes after I'd leave his room. He was very reliant on me and needed me to be wherever he was. When the children first started forest school with Kelly, he needed me there but as time went on I was able to leave; first for an hour or 2 then for the whole session. This was only possible because of the way Kelly handled it.
My daughter was encouraged to join activities and quickly settled and made friends.
Kelly has been very understanding of my son and found ways to accommodate his needs when he'd become overwhelmed. She provided him with a safe space and helped him regulate with a cup of tea if he needed time away from the group. He would communicate mostly in sounds rather than words but rather than push him she learnt to understand him and what he needed. He grew in confidence and made a circle of friends which he'd always struggled with. His uniqueness has been embraced, he's learnt how to use tools safely and communicate better, he even looks forward to attending which really is amazing given how he was before. I know Kelly is at the end of the phone if there are any problems, she has been a wonderful support all through but most recently we've been through something not nice with my daughter, Kelly has helped greatly with that.
My children come with challenges and life experiences have made me very cautious, there are very few people I trust fully with my children probably only 2 people besides myself and Kelly is one of them, her understanding, problem solving, support, communication and general mannerisms have been a wonderful support to this family, both children are far more confident, My son doesn't have half the struggles he used to, this is largely down to Kelly.”
“Before G started at forest school, it had been a number of years since she had attended any kind of group educational setting on her own. She had always been emotionally and socially young for her age but the pandemic had also led to her becoming quite withdrawn and anxious. When we first started forest school, we were nervous because we knew it could be a number of weeks before G could be left on her own and previous settings had not been supportive of a lengthy transition period. However Kelly was really supportive and understanding of G’s needs and always struck the perfect balance between helping her feel safe and encouraging her to step out of her comfort zone. We also never felt judged as failing as parents if we couldn't just leave her. In the time that G has been attending forest school she has truly blossomed, making strong friendships and learning new outdoor skills like fire lighting, using tools and cooking over a fire. But the most obvious change for us has been seeing her overcome a number of sensory sensitivities that negatively affected our lives. G went from having a strong aversion to being wet, cold or dirty to being confident spending the whole day muddy and wet. Attending forest school has broadened the clothes she'll wear and the textures and layers she'll tolerate. Cooking over the fire has expanded what and how she'll eat and physical activities like tree climbing have improved her physical confidence as well. Kelly has a unique ability to hold a space while treating the children with respect and allowing them the freedom to be themselves.
The effect on us as a family has been immeasurable. G’s confidence has grown exponentially since she's been there. She now has close friendships like she's never had before. Having a setting that G is always happy to attend is a life saver for us as it's literally the only time we get a break from home education parenting as we don't have family in this country. It is really important to us how kind, caring and patient Kelly is. It's invaluable how she understands the needs of G and the other children attending particularly when they are approaching overwhelm or experiencing big emotions. We are grateful every day for having Kelly and forest school in our lives.”