Our Lead Teacher/Facilitator

Barbara Sheridan Founder and Lead Forest School Teacher

Barbara Sheridan founded and has been lead teacher for Barrie Forest And Natural Learning School for a decade. She has 25 years of experience teaching preschool and school age children and staff using child directed social and play skills, child specific and child centred programming and training other professionals in the same approach. She is able to use her background of child directed and play based programming to focus on providing an environment for children to learn social skills, communication skills and academic skills in the Forest and Natural Learning programs.

She has hosted podcasts including Campfire Chats and Dirty Playologist for Explorations Early Learning and written for Play Empowers. She is a resident writer for 30 Second Mom and Playvolution, a Project comprised of the leaders of the revolution for Child Directed Play Based Learning throughout North America.

She presents workshops, field trips and Consultation to Educators to include more child directed learning through play in classrooms and curriculum and forest school pedagogy internationally.

She started her forest school journey by training with Erin Kenny, completing her Forest School Kindergarten teacher training from Cedarsong. She also has her Child and Youth Worker Diploma and a BA in psychology. She pursued her Masters in Education (Sustainable Education) with a focus on self directed learning outdoor models and was able to develop a forest school model that is place based for the Anishinaabek language, culture and history of the land.

Read an interview with Barbara HERE

Watch as she explains her views on “bad behaviour” HERE

Richard Gibwanisii Peters

Richard Peters is Annishinabek from Beausoleil First Nations and Dene. Richard has played a key role in the forest kindergarten and forest school from the beginning, helping with development behind the scenes. We are excited he will be joining us in person for programming. He worked with the late Doc Martin at the Blue Fox camp in Northern Ontario. He co-founded the on the land, off grid Oshkimaadizig Unity Camp at Council Rock. Elder Vern Harper was a mentor, teacher, uncle and more than a father figure to Richard and he is grateful for the ceremony, knowledge and understandings passed to him during his time on earth. This was instrumental in Richard’s development and he has used this knowledge during his time at Oshkimaadizig Unity camp, running traditional circles and workshops, on speaking tours and on warrior tours. He brings an understanding of the traditional understandings and a spirit of acceptance and humour to the students at our school.

Barbara grew up in girl guides until she turned 18 participating in every level including Rangers and Junior Leaders, camped every summer with her family and continues the camping tradition with her family. Currently Barbara is passionately pursuing sharing her forest school model helping others decolonize their outdoor models, Richard is pursuing learning his traditional language, Anishinaabemowin, her oldest son is pursing his interest in art, building and science and her youngest is pursuing his interest in anything sports. They can be either found outside at rich outdoor programming through Ontario or investigating their passions, ideas and interests during their self directcted learning/homeschool life.

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