Nest in the Woods Director and Forest School Leader

Mark Redford (BEd) HONS, EYP

I graduated from the University of Greenwich in 1997 as a teacher of secondary physical education and science and spent a few years teaching in inner London in a mainstream girl’s comprehensive school, in a school for junior pupils with profound disabilities and in a pupil referral unit.  I found working with pupils who have problems with their behaviour to be both challenging and rewarding and after moving up North to Warrington I specialised in that area.


I spent seven years teaching in schools for pupils with behavioural, social and emotional difficulties. During that time I learned a lot about how children’s behaviour manifests itself because some needs are not being met and the importance of earlier life in shaping them.

In 2009 I became a childminder this changed my direction to working with children in the Early Years Foundation Stage and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  I can now see how important it is to give children a good start in life as I have seen the other end of the spectrum from working with troubled teenagers.

Early in 2012 I discovered Forest School, I attended a teacher training day at Delamere Forest and was inspired further. 

I signed up for the practitioners level 3 award and completed the initial training week in August 2012 completed the assessment in August 2013.  I am a member of the Forest School Association.  I was accredited with Early Years Professional Status in July 2013.

I am currently delivering Forest School for many schools and home educated children across Warrington and Cheshire. In November 2016 we took on Adlington Woods which I now manage with a team of dedicated staff.

I am subscribed to the DBS update service, please ask if you need my reference number.

Nest in the Woods Director and Forest School Leader

Sally Cliffe(FdA)


After working with children of different ages throughout my career I feel the early years are the most important. They are the foundations for life long learning, health and behaviour. The child’s brain develops more than any other time in its life. The early years experience of things the child’s sees, hears, touches, smells and tastes, stimulates the brain creating millions of connections and shaping the adult the child will become.  I believe the forest school ethos provides a rich, stimulating and natural learning environment through a child led approach supported by experienced and caring adults therefore I have followed my dream of opening outdoor forest school preschools.

I am a qualified forest School level 3 leader. I am Paediatric first aid trained and have my outdoor first aid. I have a Foundation Degree in Early Years, an HNC, an HND and an NVQ Level 3 all in within childcare and early Years. With 25 years of experience working with children in different settings, including mainstream schools, Special Schools, Pupil Referral Unit, Special needs, after school clubs, accredited childminding and PreSchool.

I have completed a Level 3 award in Supporting Children and Young People’s speech language and Communication and thoroughly believe the outdoor environment is the best place for language development, learning speech through first hand experiences. I have attended courses on Raising Early Achievement in Literacy (REAL), Raising Early Mathematical skills, Communicating friendly spaces, Portage training, working with vulnerable 2 year olds, Understanding and Supporting Children’s Pro-Social Behaviour, Phonics, Listening as a Way of Life, Working with Vulnerable families, Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinator, (SENCO), Makaton, Montessori, Domestic violence and Visual impairments (to name just a few). I have taken part in research with the National Children’s Bureau in Raising Early Mathematical Skills which is a follow on study from Raising Early literacy skills (REAL) and have most recently attending training in Yoga, social stories and sensory processing disorders and have started implementing relevant bits into our forest school sessions.

Through lockdown I have took part in lots of webinars and online learning on current issues these included mindfulness & wellbeing, PDA Pathological Demand Avoidance, Bereavement awareness, emotional regulation, supporting anxiety and PTSD Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Grappenhall Nest in the Woods Preschool opened in September 2015. In November 2016 we took on the woods at Adlington and in October 2017 we opened up our second preschool site Adlington Nest in the Woods Preschool.

I now teach forest school in a local primary school and at our Adlington Preschool site.

I am a member of the Forest School Association and have subscribed to the DBS update service, please ask if you need my reference number.

Nest in the Woods Manager and Forest School Leader

Gemma Shaw (BA, PGCE)

I am a qualified teacher with a degree in Linguistics and a PGCE in Primary Teaching. I have 10 years’ experience working with children in schools and Preschool as both a Teaching Assistant, Teacher and a deputy Manager at a local Preschool. As a teacher I have taught children across the primary age range from Nursery to Key stage 2. I have been able to experience first-hand the benefits of Forest School. I have watched children become more independent and self-confident whilst engaged in child-led learning. Their natural curiosity and motivation to discover and challenge themselves is clearly visible. The opportunity for learning to manage their own risk taking builds confidence and their pride in their accomplishments is evident.
The experience I have gained from being part of Forest School sessions has challenged my understanding of what high quality early years provision should look like. I have found it refreshing to work in a truly child led way with minimal additional resources needed and was immensely proud when after just 12 months of opening we gained Outstanding in all areas on our first Ofsted.
I am Level 3 forest school leader qualified, Paediatric first aid and outdoor first aid qualified and have attended courses on food safety, speech and language, tremendous two year olds, Role of SENCO, Portage training, Early language development, phonics letters and sounds, behaviour management and safeguarding.

I have recently completed Level 3 Early Years Senco Award, yoga training and a sensory processing disorder course. I have moved up to Manager of the Grappenhall setting allowing Sally to focus more on our Adlington Site.

I am a member of the Forest School Association and have subscribed to the DBS update service, please ask if you need my reference number.

Nest in the Woods Pre-School Assistant

Lesley Chriscoli

My best achievement to date is a being a Mum to my two fantastic children! Becoming a Mum and experiencing everything that goes with it, inspired me to become involved within the Childcare Profession. I began volunteering at my previous setting and progressed to becoming employed and undertaking a Diploma in the Children and Young Peoples Workforce.
The time I have spent working with children has helped me to understand how fantastic they are at learning through play and how a variety of experiences enhances this learning. Being involved with Forest School sessions has reinforced my belief that outdoor learning and its process can help children to learn in a new, natural way, helping to develop skills across all areas.
I am passionate about children’s learning and development and sharing their learning journey in the early years. I enjoy working with children and parents in helping them to develop speech and language through the ECAT (Every Child a Talker) programme.
I work at the Grappenhall site and am excited to be part of the Nest in the Woods team.

I have recently attended yoga training, I am completing my forest school level 1, I am paediatric first aid trained and have subscribed to the DBS update service please ask if you need my reference number.

Nest in the Woods Pre-School Assistant Manager

Samantha Carter

I am a mum to two wonderful very energetic boys and as a family we love being outside no matter what the weather. Both my boys attended Nest in the Woods and I have seen first hand how their confidence and independence have grown. I am a firm believer that allowing children to be outside to explore and investigate their surroundings, to take calculated risks and to take their imaginations and play where they choose leads them to becoming very well rounded individuals later on in life. Since being at Nest in the Woods Grappenhall, I have enjoyed working in a truly child led environment and am eager to see where their interests take me on a daily basis.

I am qualified in Level 3 in Children’s Learning and Development and am registered with the DBS update service. I am currently studying a Level 5 Early Years Lead Practitioner