From my better half:
I'd been having a hard time finding a preschool that would work for our oldest son since we moved last October. I recently became acquainted with a forest preschool in our area, which was something I'd never heard of before. I thought that there may be readers who would be interested in learning about it, and could look in their areas for similar schools if they were interested.
The mindset is to let the children play in nature, learn about animals and plants, and at the same time learn some survival skills like building fires and gardening.
I think it's ingenious and I am sad that our public education system would never think to implement outdoor activities such as these at a young age. It's so beneficial for them!
Our son absolutely loves the program. What kid doesn't like wading in creeks looking for frogs, jumping in puddles, doing ropes courses, and finding new thing things they've never seen before outdoors--like a deer skeleton, one of his favorite parts last week.
Studies have shown that a learning environment like this is incredibly beneficial to brain development at a young age; kids need outdoor time. It's taking us back to our roots, something we often forget being trapped indoors with so many electronics.
It's not like I lock up our children and they don't have outdoor time, but this opens doors for him into situations he hasn't been in yet, and he can experience them with groups of children. Plus, he thinks it's special school time so that makes it extra cooler than being with mom or dad.
I'll get off my soap box now, here's a video that show's a peek into a forest school. This particular one is in Switzerland and is a public kindergarten class. Our son's preschool posted this on their website recently. It's a glance at what they aim for. There aren't an abundance of these schools out there now, but it doesn't hurt to check your area out for such preschools.
School's Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten from Rona Richter on Vimeo.