Jo’s Story

20+ year career leading children into nature to learn

Growing up Joanne Sørensen spent much of her childhood outdoors. This fostered an enduring love of nature that continues to inspire her life, family, and professional career.

Taking children into nature to learn has been a huge teaching focus throughout Joanne’s career. This inspired her idea to create a business to connect children and their families with the outdoors. In 2018, Bush Knowing Forest School was born.

Here’s how her qualifications, experience, and dedication to the importance of child-led play outdoors culminated to become north Brisbane’s first forest school. 

Teaching experience

Joanne has been in the early childhood field since 1990 and has worked in a few different positions and age groups in Australia and overseas. Since 2008 Joanne has been the Co-Director and Teacher at a local C&K community kindergarten.

Her qualifications include an Associate Diploma of Education, a Bachelor of Education and Level 3 Forest School Leader. Joanne has led children into nature to learn for a very long time and joined the Queensland Early Childhood Sustainability Network in 2000. Joanne currently supports FSLI training Forest School Leaders twice a year, and C&K Community teachers and Centres several times a year.

Danish influences and Forest School Learning Institute training

In Denmark there is a deep and long-held cultural understanding, appreciation of, and expectation that children should play in nature regularly. Joanne, whose husband is Danish, has been visiting Denmark for over twenty years and has been visiting early childhood centres there since 2003. In 2016, Joanne attended Inside-Out Nature’s residential course in Viborg, Denmark to understand the Danish Forest School curriculum approach.

In 2016, Nature Play QLD offered the first official Forest School Leader Training in Australia with Forest School Learning Institute. Joanne qualified as a Forest School Leader Level 3.

Images captured in Denmark by Joanne Sørensen (2003 – present)

Australian Forest School Association

In 2020, Joanne was part of the committee to form the Australian Forest School Association. This is a not-for-profit group whose aim is to promote, mentor and support nature immersion programs for children of diverse environments (including beach, bush and service-based) and multiple ages across Australia. Joanne is the current President.

Come play with Bush Knowing Forest School

Bush Knowing Forest School offers nature play experiences for young children in north Brisbane. Bush Kindy (Holiday Sessions), Bush Kindy (Term Booked) or Bush Playgroup are held at our beautiful bush site by the Kedron Brook in the lands of the Turrbal and Jagera People. Come and learn in and from nature with us!

Would you like to keep in touch?

Sign up to our newsletters! Get our latest news and special session announcements delivered straight to your inbox.

Adding you …
Yay! Welcome to our club.