Forest Kindergarten - Any Takers? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 07-17-2008, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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A new thread for a new thought.

Does anybody here wish there was a nature preschool/ forest kindergarten/ outdoor day-care in their area? Be it for your own children of for others?

Does anybody know of an existing nature center or preschool near a forest or nature preserve that could accommodate a forest kindergarten?

Our forest kindergarten was founded almost two years ago by one mother with a 3-year-old who wanted her daughter to be able to attend a forest kindergarten instead of a conventional preschool. Not even knowing if enough children would sign up, the preschool has grown rapidly and can only accommodate a fraction of the interested children/parents. But someone had to get the ball rolling...

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#2 of 23 Old 07-18-2008, 06:51 PM
 
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just wanted you to know in india there is a university that exits that way. the person who initiated it was rabindranath tagore and it is called shantiniketan (abode of peace).

http://www.wb.nic.in/westbg/shanti.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santiniketan

just an fyi

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#3 of 23 Old 07-19-2008, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Could you explain more - it seems that you might know more...

I did some quick reading on Wikipedia and throughout the university's web site and I can't quite make the " present day" connection. It seams that Rabindranath Tagore founded this university with the intention of it being a self-sufficient community dedicated to outdoor-learning, but the university seems to have taken a more standard route?? It does still have a department of agriculture, but I didn't see anything on the current web site suggesting outdoor-education...
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#4 of 23 Old 07-20-2008, 02:26 AM
 
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i dont quite know the details myself. it is a big university and a town grew out of it. yes it does still do outdoor education - but not for all classes. it hasnt given up outdoors. but some classes are hard to do outside. they have a big festival sometime in spring and people come from all over the world to attend.

some more links - unfortunately not v. much on outdoor education.
http://www.visva-bharati.ac.in/at_a_..._a_glance.html

http://www.thedailystar.net/campus/2...re_journey.htm

http://www.shunya.net/Pictures/North...ntiniketan.htm

hey this last link said a lot - from a student. shoot i read it and it talks about long ago.

from the google search hte info i got was something where you are right. not much outside classrooms except in teh fine arts field. it seems some other schools tried the same experiment but the students themselves protested. they didnt want outdoor education because that meant the school was poor and couldnt afford branches.

soooooooo

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#5 of 23 Old 07-22-2008, 12:40 AM
 
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There is a nature preschool in Milwaukee at the Schlitz Audubon Center. It was a wonderful experience for our family. I believe there are a few others, including one in St. Paul, MN. There is also a Lifeways Childcare Center here (Waldorf-based) which has a Kinderforest program.
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#6 of 23 Old 07-22-2008, 12:47 PM
 
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I love this idea so much!!! my kids are homeschooling though but this might be a wonderful idea! (they want to be outside 24/7!) this could be the ultimate Free School! just imgagine it!

any more links or resources would be much appreciated! We are about to leave the desert for the forest for a month or two! maybe we will try this while we are away! :

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#7 of 23 Old 07-22-2008, 12:50 PM
 
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btw if you google for "waldkindergarten" (wood kindergarten) more comes up.

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#8 of 23 Old 07-22-2008, 12:57 PM
 
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_kindergarten
some more info on the idea.

i am stoked. i want to go to wood kindergarten myself!


Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#9 of 23 Old 07-22-2008, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This thread already has lots of information.

There isn't much information about forest kindergartens in English. I've translated most of our forest kindergartens website, which has lots of practical information and some links, but I still haven't gotten around to some stuff (the very long and detailed philosophy, for example):

Forest Kindergarten Ilmenau Germany

There is an organization/company called Forest Schools in the UK that offers training for teachers interested in forest kindergartens/education and tips on how to start one, what they do, what the advantages are, etc.

Forest Schools

Mike Esterl wrote a nice article for the WSJ about forest kindergartens:
WSJ forest kindergarten article

Here are some interesting preschools that seem to follow the forest kindergarten concept (allowing for ample unstructured outdoor play and substantial time spent outdoors). There are many more preschools that are nature-oriented and spend time outdoors, but these are more along the lines of "forest kindergarten":

Ceadarsong Nature Preschool Vashon, WA

Schlitz Audobon Nature Preschool Milwaukee, WI

Audobon Nature Preschool Chevy Chase, MD

Shining Star Waldorf School Portland, OR

Four Seasons School Ringe, Denmark

Secret Garten Outdoor Nursery Howe of Fife, Scottland
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#10 of 23 Old 07-22-2008, 07:51 PM
 
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In Santa Cruz CA there is a Waldorf school in the mountains that is very much like a "forest" school. A lot of the lessons are held outside in a circle surrounded by redwoods and seats are made of logs. It is truly beautiful and I would love something like that for my children.

A bit of this, a bit of that... a mish-mash quilt of a mama to Oliver (2/3/05) and Lilah (2/5/07) and Silas (9/8/09) :
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#11 of 23 Old 07-22-2008, 08:02 PM
 
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are you still in Germany considering on moving to the states?

what does a typical day in your forest preschool look like?

my kids spend about 6 hours a day outside. This interests me alot as we need more outside activities and looking to start a more structured day rather than just a "free for all" outside like what we've been doing. my kids even have taken to eating outside..they wuld sleep out there if I let them!

this is intriguing. thanks for the links. looking through them now.

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#12 of 23 Old 07-23-2008, 09:59 AM
 
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I do I do: Want to start one with me in CT? Probably not if your in Germany
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#13 of 23 Old 07-23-2008, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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@CaraboosMama - that's why I asked! I'd be very interested in helping as much as I can if anyone might be motivated. Do you know of anywhere interesting in your area?

Rainbowmoon - our forest kindergarten has a pretty good description of a typical day in the FAQs on its website.

Most of the kids meet a teacher at the train station at 8am and take the train to the nearby Ilmenau-Roda (5 minute train ride) where they meet the other kids and teacher in the forest. They decide where they want to spend the morning (stream, look-out, "cliff", forest-sofa, meadow, "big rock", etc.) and walk there together. Once they get there the kids throw down their backpacks, have their morning circle, and then eat breakfast together. (Kids come with backpacks with a thermos can, breakfast, and small mat to sit on.) After breakfast the kids scatter to play on their own and in smaller groups and the teachers offer different projects, from experiments to examinations to art and crafts. (The teachers have backpacking backpacks filled with goodies - first aid supplies, dry clothes, scissors, glue- anything they need for the day.) Sometime after 11am they start packing up and heading to their building. (A little too early, but this is due to logistical difficulties with lunch.)

Inside they peel off the muddy clothing, wash their hands, and get the tables ready for lunch. They eat together and take a nap from about 12:30-2pm and have a snack together at around 2:30 or 3. In the afternoon there are usually art/building projects planned which they can do either inside or outside, weather permitting. The parents built a "playground" (with natural elements such as sand, water, bushes, a wooden house, hills, and wooden benches) on the grounds outside that the children usually play on until they are picked up (before 5pm).

I have heard that the forest kindergarten in Dresden, Germany even sleeps outside, but I can't quite imagine that!
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#14 of 23 Old 07-23-2008, 02:56 PM
 
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My first goes to a science based public school. They don't do everyday outdoors, but they do at least 2 or 3 field trips a month, and many more in the vicinity of the school outside. Some field trips are actually entire moduals done outside every day for a couple of weeks at a time. The school does have a kindergarten.
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#15 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 12:01 AM
 
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I would love this!! I am in the process of working on something like this myself. I am planning on having full classrooms, but there will be 3x more outdoor space, with lots of outdppr activities. I plan for the children to spend at least 2-3 hours a day outside, weather permitting, of course. This is (unfortunately) about 3-4 years away though.

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#16 of 23 Old 07-24-2008, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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libranbutterfly - Why is it 3-4 years off?

Germany is different that the states, but I was suprised to learn from the founder of our forest kindergarten that only about 6 months passed from her initial idea to the actual start.
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#17 of 23 Old 07-25-2008, 11:07 PM
 
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Wow my son would have died and gone to heaven to have a program like this. He attends a school based Junior kindy last year and full findy this year and it really really sucked. We live on a farm and he is outside constantly when the weather is good like 8-10 hours of the day. When he is in the classroom then he drives everyone nuts because he is sooo out of his element.
His school did a daytrip to a marsh/wild forest/medow at the end of the year and his teacher said she had never seen him as happy or well behaved(mind you I went on the fieldtrip so he didn't get much of a chance to unmannered)
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#18 of 23 Old 07-26-2008, 02:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elizaear View Post
libranbutterfly - Why is it 3-4 years off?

Germany is different that the states, but I was suprised to learn from the founder of our forest kindergarten that only about 6 months passed from her initial idea to the actual start.
I am not financially able to invest in something like this right now, and I am trying to get my degree. Every day I add a little to my plans though, and dream of going on and opening it. I think I'll take some business classes this semester and then I may just give it a shot. I really want a better place for my children, so I hope others would also be interested.

jeneca mommy to kamille, 6 lexi, 4
#3 due 2/28/12

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#19 of 23 Old 09-09-2008, 07:39 PM
 
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my son goes to a "forest kindergarten" (one listed in some one else's post) and it's amazing. I am pretty anti-school, but this is totally different to me. The kids are outside learning and playing, there is no academic component, though they learn tons about the woods, animals, plants, seasons etc.
The kids just get to be free and have fun and I am so grateful that the school exists (every time I think of it). He loves it. It feels right. My son is shocked that other kids have to go to "desk school" already.
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#20 of 23 Old 10-27-2008, 10:45 AM
 
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Bumping this and also wondering how to start on in Upstate NY. What degrees would be required...a teaching degree? Or can you bypass that somehow since you aren't in a formal classroom? I'd love to start one.

Partnered mama with DD (01/04) and DD (08/09) and 8 critters, including a !
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#21 of 23 Old 10-27-2008, 11:30 AM
 
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If this hasn't already been mentioned, I'd suggest a little book called Nokken-I think that's how it's spelled. It details a school setting in Denmark with a heavy emphasis on being outdoors every day for good periods of time, regardless of weather. This was what one of my children's preschools was loosely based upon. Not a forest kindy per se, but similar ideas in some ways. I believe Helle Heckman is the author of Nokken.
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#22 of 23 Old 02-25-2014, 07:40 AM
 
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I am interested in starting one, but I need a teacher.  We live in Indianapolis, right next to Eagle Creek, a very large urban park with a reservoir, nature center, and outdoor classroom.  They are interested.  However, I just found out we might move to Michigan.  If we do, I'd like to purchase many wooded acres around the Lake Fenton area.  I would then look into having a school there, if there are any interested teachers.  

 

Thank you

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#23 of 23 Old 02-26-2014, 03:31 PM
 
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Not sure Raene! This idea is starting to take hold in my state but I don't know about the qualifications!


 
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