All our EKO Leaders have DBS certification, first aid qualifications and public liability insurance.

We are always looking for enthusiastic new EKO Leaders; take a look at our jobs page if you are interested.

 

Natasha Branston, Founder

Natasha founded Educating Kids Outdoors in 2012 with the vision of offering a different learning approach to pupils using the outdoors and natural world to inspire, imagine, experiment, explore, wonder, think and problem solve both as individuals and by working with others.

After university Natasha ran school expeditions overseas and went on to develop educational programmes in deprived areas of the UK as well as volunteering with young people in many different capacities. In the past few years she has gained her Forest School Leader Level 3 and Teaching Assistant Level 3 qualifications to enable her to understand current thinking and processes in schools and outdoor learning.

She believes passionately that pupils thrive in a supportive environment where they have space to think, opportunities to have a go and time to explore and discover things for themselves. The natural world and its ever changing seasons is the perfect setting to maximise learning opportunities and help children grow into calm, considerate, capable young adults.


Rachel Wild, EKO Leader

Rachel is a highly creative, dynamic and energetic teacher with a great sense of fun who has a passion for Outdoor Learning. She qualified with an Environmental Science Degree and P.G.C.E. in Primary Education and has a wealth of experience teaching in a variety of challenging settings, valuing each child as a fantastic, unique individual.

She has been teaching in the classroom for nearly 20 years having taught all age ranges from Early Years through to Year 8. In addition she is active in her local community as a Cub Leader. She is a qualified Forest School Leader Level 3 and is excited to share her expertise to develop a programme of learning that addresses the holistic needs of the children in your setting.


Amanda Yates, EKO Leader

Amanda is a qualified primary teacher and has a BA Hons in Illustration. She has worked in education for over 15 years, helping schools to develop cross-curricular learning using the creative arts and outdoor learning. She is passionate about natural environment and the benefits it offers to people of all ages.

Amanda has a Level 3 OCN Forest School qualification.

 

 


Simon Cooper, EKO Leader

Simon has been in the engineering profession for 25 years but has recently changed his career path to follow his passion for educating children about the wonders of the outdoors and the joy of woodcraft skills.

Simon’s love of the great outdoors began at the age of 8 when he joined the scout pack at Knowle, Solihull. That passion continued to grow and Simon now has 30 years leading experience with both the cubs and scouts at the same pack in Knowle. Simon loves the discipline of the scouting movement but equally enjoys leading survival nights and tool activities.

Simon has recently gained his Level 3 qualification in Forest School Leadership and is running 3 successful EKO groups at 2 local schools.


Emma Cooper, EKO Assistant Leader

Emma was a Police Officer for West Midlands Police Force for 6 years but left in order to start a family. While she was a full time mom she returned to college to retrain as a Teaching Assistant and started work at a primary school in Solihull where she has been for the last 15 years.

Emma is now a learning mentor, specialising in helping children to understand and manage their social and emotional difficulties and being the best that they can be. These skills fit perfectly within the Forest School ethos. Emma assists the running of a Forest school session in her school.

 

 


Karen Limbrick, EKO Leader

Karen has been engaged with schools for twenty years encouraging Early Years to Secondary level children to design elements of their school grounds for play and learning, as well as involving them in activities helping them to explore their outdoor spaces.

She trained and practised as a landscape architect for five years before taking a career break to bring up her two daughters. She has worked for local authorities and Wildlife Trusts, and since becoming self-employed in 2004, environmental charities such as Learning through Landscapes.

She has always enjoyed gardening, more recently growing fruit and vegetables and is passionate about heritage apples and orchards for schools. Occasionally she can be found doing conservation work with a community woodland group and dabbles in the new field of social forestry.

Karen enjoys opening children’s eyes to the wonder of the natural world around them and watching their confidence grow when mastering new outdoor skills.


Julie Butler, EKO Leader

Julie’s background training is as a Nursery Nurse but she is a fully qualified Forest School Level 3 Leader as well and loves taking children outdoors and creating wonderful adventures for them. With plenty of young grandchildren to practice on, her creative flair and fun loving attitude ensures that every session with her is full of laughter and outdoor play.

 


Carly Popplestone, EKO Leader

Carly has a genuine love for the outdoors and actively chooses to spend her spare time in the mountains and wild places. Carly is passionate about sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm to support wellbeing and education through a connection with our natural world.

Carly’s Forest School journey began in Scotland where she led Forest School sessions for Primary Schools, Nurseries, Pre Schoolers, people with Special Educational Needs, and Adults. Carly achieved her Level 3 Forest School Practitioner qualification in 2018.

 


Narinder Kaur, EKO Leader

Narinder has always enjoyed the outdoors and is passionate about children learning outside of the classroom. Narinder was a teacher of geography at a secondary school for 15 years. Whilst taking a career break she studied for a RHS Level 2 and 3 in Horticulture and more recently qualified as a Level 3 Forest School Practitioner.

Narinder is also a volunteer at a community garden and works with local school children teaching them to grow food outdoors. She is a firm believer that there are many benefits of learning outdoors. She has seen children grow in confidence and improve their mental and physical health. As well as showing greater respect for their natural surroundings.

 

 


Jane Mifflin, EKO Leader

Jane has always enjoyed working outdoors and has set up her own Forest School business supporting schools and parents who home school their children in North Staffs.

Her experience includes nearly 25 yrs teaching Geography and Humanities in secondary schools and she particularly enjoys doing voluntary ranger work in her local country parks, walking and playing badminton.

 

 


Michelle Gough, EKO Leader

Michelle has oodles of experience in Outdoor Learning and that, combined with her imagination, energy and sense of humour inspires and, enraptures children of all ages.

Michelle qualified as a  Forest School Leader, Level 3 in 2009 and works part time at a Nursery with a Level 3 nursery nurse qualification, running and developing their outdoor learning provision and is also GSL (Group Scout Leader) for her local area.

 

 


Lindsey Potts, EKO Leader

Lindsey has been involved in outdoor learning since 2011 when she started helping out as a volunteer at Forest School sessions at her children’s school. She began to see first hand the benefits of Forest School through her own children’s learning and behaviour and that of others and so embarked on her Forest School Level 3 training in 2013. Her qualifications include a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Biology, Level 3 Certificate in Forest School programme Leadership and a Level 3 Certificate in Supporting teaching and learning in Schools. Lindsey believes that outdoor learning offers a positive experience for pupils because it teaches them to manage risks, overcome challenges and learn about the world around us. Her favourite part of delivering EKO sessions is seeing children grow with confidence as they master new skills!

 


Dewi Williams, EKO Leader

Dewi grew up roaming the Welsh countryside and is at his happiest and most creative in the great outdoors, especially woodlands. He enjoys working with willow and has helped EKO club children to design and construct wonderful willow ‘fedges’ and dens around their forest school sites. He turns his hand to any forestry job, enjoys learning and sharing green crafts and is looking forward to learning how to build cob ovens this Spring for outdoor cooking.