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"Waldkindergarten" - outdoor preschool/wood kindergarten - Page 2

post #21 of 50
You might try looking into Reggio Emilia schools. In my limited experience they allow for a good bit of outside time. Not nearly what you are describing though. And many of these are only preschool or maybe kindergarten too (which is for 5 year olds here).

There are also some private schools that emphasis outside time and operate on farms, etc. For example, in the DC area the Burgundy Farms Country Day School. (I only know this school from it's website--can't provide any details beyond that.) Those schools may be quite pricey though.
post #22 of 50
Thanks for that, I haven't heard of Reggio Emilia schools (sounds Italian). I'll see if there's anything around here...
post #23 of 50
I love the idea but I think it would be hard to implement here. In that Wiki link it said they go indoors when it is colder than -10 for safety, over half our year is colder than that, this week with windchills of -57 outdoor play is not an option that cold for even 10 minutes let alone half days. I think I need to move to a warmer climate.
post #24 of 50

Natureplay is nestled in nature & similar to Waldkindergarten

: My preschool is located on a 2+ acre lot with a small stream inhabited by fish, salamander nymphs and crayfish. We have a forested area with critters, fungi and wildflowers. We even have an urban fox that seems to come by daily. We are engaged in restoring the site after 87 or more years of human habitation. One of our principles is to provide playthings from nature another is to learn from nature's pattern for the land. My husband operates Susten Ecosavvy Homes www.susten.com and he is ready to start building a Deep Green school on the site. Our building will produce 85% less global warming pollution than a typical school of its size. Our goal is for the site to be a net generator of solar electricity within the next ten years. The building has been designed with the intent of bringing nature in and helping the students be comfortable when out in nature. Natureplay is located in Asheville NC 28806.
We had not heard about waldkindergarten outdoor preschool, wood kindergarten until after we had started our school it is comforting to know that others have had these ideas also.
Visit us on the web at www.naturepreschool.com or call us up at (828) 350-7529.
Warmly,
Amica Venturi
Principal
Naturplay Preschool
post #25 of 50
I've heard them refered to as Forest Schools, try expanding your search.

http://www.forestschools.com/

And FTR, Shining Star School in Portland is a Waldorf School, nature based but not nessecarily the same thing
post #26 of 50

Forest Kids

A friend of ours just started a group of Forest Boys/Kids at his family farm in central Indiana. The brochure the facilitator gave us talked about Waldkindergarten, so it seems to be based on that. This is held for 2 hours a week on a working 10-acre farm with woods, creek, animals, gardens. We are pretty excited about it!
post #27 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by zo's ma View Post
I've heard them refered to as Forest Schools, try expanding your search.

http://www.forestschools.com/

And FTR, Shining Star School in Portland is a Waldorf School, nature based but not nessecarily the same thing
I think you are a bit mistaken. My children attend Shining Star School. While Shining Star IS a traditional Waldorf school, we ALSO have an outdoor kindergarden based on the Waldkinder/Nokken model, where the children spend the majority of their day outside in nature. It is separate from our regular Waldorf school, and is located across town, on an organic farm, next to a 700 acre forest. It's called The Mother Earth Kindergarden and the article that was posted earlier talks about it

FTR, it has been very successful and will be expanding this next fall to include an outdoor nursery school on the same site. Here is a link to their web page for anyone interested.
post #28 of 50
Well whaddaya know.....not the first time I've been mistaken for sure!
post #29 of 50
I'm in Switzerland and there are also quite a few Waldkindergartens here, although not many for 3 year olds I think...rather like 4-6. Where we live there is a private one (not too expensive) where they come pick the kids up at home in a funky bus and drive them over to their forest place for the morning. It's 4 half-days a week.

Also, our local village kindergarten (public) is right near a large forest, and they have started a Waldprojekt where the kids are in the forest every day for the whole first semester of the school year and then only a couple of days of week in the winter. They meet at the schoolhouse (which is actually an old Swiss farmhouse) and then they walk together over to the forest. It's fab, and free!

I know this doesn't help you with your question, but I also wanted to add that the forest kindergarten movement is often referred to in Waldorf circles in the US, so it isn't a bad idea to start your search there. However, these sorts of things usually cost a LOT more in the US than they do in Europe.

good luck!
post #30 of 50
Thread Starter 
I'm still on the lookout for "forest kindergartens" in the states, probably more out of sheer interest. There are a few popping up in nature centers, which I think is great! Anybody here from the Chicago area?? Every time I go home for a visit I think to myself, "The Morton Arboretum would be a great place for an outdoor preschool..." *seuftz*

I've done some translating on our forest kindergarten's website and will translate the rest in the coming weeks, in case anyone is interested in the nitty-gritty details of forest kindergartens:

Forest Kindergarten Ilmenau, Germany

Suggestions are welcome!
post #31 of 50
The closest I have in my area is Dodge Nature Preschool. My son attended for half the day 3 days a week. They either start inside playing with wooden toys, natural objects collected from outside or art projects, then head outside. Or they start outside, going for long hikes in the 300 acre nature center, visiting the farm next door. They build forts out of sticks, play hide and seek in the prairie, poke around in the pond looking for turtles, snails, and fish, climb challenge hill, plant flowers and vegetables, dig for worms to feed the class chicken or class turtle, bring out the turtle or guinea pig for a romp in the grass, tap maple trees, visit beehives, climb trees, slop through streams, sledding in the winter (kick sleds too), ice slides, etc.

The elementary school across the street also uses the nature center very regularly for hikes, science studies, etc.
post #32 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizaear View Post
I'm still on the lookout for "forest kindergartens" in the states, probably more out of sheer interest. There are a few popping up in nature centers, which I think is great! Anybody here from the Chicago area?? Every time I go home for a visit I think to myself, "The Morton Arboretum would be a great place for an outdoor preschool..." *seuftz*
We visit family in Naperville a couple times a year and always visit the Morton Arb. It would make a fantastic location for a school!
post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizaear View Post
I'm still on the lookout for "forest kindergartens" in the states, probably more out of sheer interest.
There's one on Vashon Island, just off the coast of Seattle.

Cedarsong Nature Preschool
post #34 of 50
The Wall Street Journal had an large article on this within the past two months. Would be a good resource, perhaps.
post #35 of 50
OP, we are neighbors, and skov børnehaven (forest kindergartens) are popular here as well. My son is in a typical kindergarten (for denmark - not usa!) but my friends daughter goes to the forest one and loves it. She said she wanted her daughter there because she is so full of energy (in mdc lingo high needs), though personally I think she is not high needs at all. In any case, they have a small apt. in town, and are cooped up, and her daughter loves the forest kindergarten. They are outdoor every day, wind, rain, sleet, snow... and really enjoy it. They have a small hut for absolutely necessary indoor times. I just don't think the "rules" would apply in the USA: like learning to use knives, or a 5 year old roasting bread over an open fire. The teacher-student ratio is also really reasonable. There are pluses and minuses with every place, and imo, this is a BIG plus.
post #36 of 50
The only thing in my area that sounds close to that is Natureplay preschool, near Asheville, NC

http://www.naturepreschool.com/homepage.html
post #37 of 50
Thread Starter 
Pomona, funny you mention the WSJ article. The author, Mike Esterl, found this thread when he started his research on the article and contacted me via email. I talked to him on the phone and was really excited that he was looking into forest kindergartens. The article turned out quite nice, too:

Wall Street Journal article on forest kindergartens

Does anybody know of a nature center or preschool near a forest or nature preserve in their area that could accommodate a forest kindergarten? Think, think, think.
post #38 of 50
There is a town near me that is building a trail directly from main street into the nearby Pisgah national forest within the next few years. Its a neat little town called Brevard in western North Carolina.
post #39 of 50
thats awesome. we were in germany for 3.5 years with the army before ds was born (he was concieved a couple of months before we left, lol) and we're hoping to go back someday. id live to put my kids in a school like that
post #40 of 50
Thread Starter 
That's the thing. They are cool, really cool. And from what I gather, it probably wouldn't be hard to find enough parents in a given area who would send their kids to this kind of day care. So why isn't it happening?

There may be between 500 and 700 forest kindergartens in Germany, but it is individual parents and friends who got them going. Each forest kindergarten has its own story, starting with one or two interested parents and an idea. Most of them are only half-days with less than 20 kids. But that is still enough to work half-time. Ours is full-days and they would never do it differently.

I would love to dedicate my time and effort to building forest kindergartens, making the general concept more well-know and understood. But for now it's one step at a time.
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