Founded in 2007
Diggers was founded in 2007 by Caroline Levitt and two friends Nick and Helena and based at Steep Primary School near Petersfield which was attended by their children at the time. As an after-school club the focus was initially on gardening, cooking, woodland, and the environment, plus generally having a great time outdoors. Caroline was encouraged to turn Diggers into a business in 2011 by Lou Romans the headteacher at Steep School. By the end of that first year Caroline had completed her Forest School Level 3 training and 53 out of 85 children at the school were attending Diggers across four days. Such was the popularity of the club that there was also a waiting list. In 2012 Caroline expanded Diggers to include a further four schools in the Petersfield area. Again, Diggers proved so popular that second days and waiting lists were quickly added.
In the early hours of 10th September 2013 Caroline suffered a stroke. So serious was the stroke that for five days it was not know if Caroline would live or die. As a result of this situation Diggers was closed down. This may well have been the end of Diggers, but then Caroline started to show signs of recovery. Whilst Caroline was still in hospital, Diggers was restarted by the dedicated team of staff and Caroline’s family.
As a result of the stroke and all the rehabilitation that came with it, including a heart operation, Diggers like Caroline needed to adapt. We therefore decided to open a full time Forest School in South Harting for young people aged 20 months to 5 years. Initially there were just a handful of children attending each week and we had no idea how well the idea of what we were offering would be received. Thanks to a huge amount of hard work and a well-earned reputation coupled with the arrival of a wonderful and experienced manager Sharon, who has built a fabulous team around her, Diggers Forest School is now thriving. Suffice to say it is full of happy, well cared for children enjoying the most idyllic childhood experiences in the heart of the South Downs.
Caroline is very proud of what she, Sharon and the team have created.
Our unique setting has an incredible team of people and they are by far our biggest asset. All are DBS checked and between them hold an impressive portfolio of qualifications.
Sites & Mentoring
Due to the success of our existing Forest School, which is over-subscribed and has a long waiting list, we would dearly love to expand by opening another setting.