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...
just an fyi
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...
some more links - unfortunately not v. much on outdoor education.
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.
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! :
some more info on the idea.
i am stoked. i want to go to wood kindergarten myself!
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.
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
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.
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!
jeneca mommy to kamille, 6 lexi, 4
#3 due 2/28/12
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.
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)
jeneca mommy to kamille, 6 lexi, 4
#3 due 2/28/12
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.
Partnered mama with DD (01/04) and DD (08/09) and 8 critters, including a !
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.