Birdwings Forest School was established by Narell Neville and Jennifer McCormack, two early childhood educators, artists and nature mentors who found that children were their best selves when they played outside. Narell and Jen wanted to work together with children in wild nature, building connections to Country and community – so they did 🙂
A country girl at heart, Narell believes that children thrive when there are strong family and cultural connections, which builds respect for others. This experiential development supports children to become autonomous learners and teaches independence. Why do something for a child when they can do it for themselves? A mother of two daughters, she has a passion for children’s rights, is an advocate for women’s rights and actively involves herself in local Aboriginal activities. Narell has experience in growing plants and herbs for herbal medicines, as well as having successfully run a self-sustainable farm in Gippsland, Victoria. Narell draws from the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and is also a botanical artist and loves to paint, draw and craft. Narell began her adventure into nature education through her award-nominated business Greystone Farm Nature Play.
Jennifer is an early childhood teacher, author, storyteller and artist with a passion for respectful education, the creative arts, conservation and well-being. She believes that children thrive when their environment values play, honours family and culture, respects development and supports children’s autonomy in learning. Jennifer is known for Ecological Storytelling, which blends creative arts practice, nature immersion and early childhood education to explore our relationships to self, others and Country. Jennifer is also known by the title Geira Jen with children, a name drawn from the Ngarahngwal word for Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, Jennifer’s nature play totem: an intelligent local bird who flocks in close communities, playful and protective with each other. Jennifer began her adventure into nature education with her river kinder Numala Kinder Nature Play.