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1/23/14

Forest Schools - Learning thru Dirt Time

TEOTWAWKI Wife found this and wrote up a blurb to share. This is really pretty cool, and something that I wished I'd had as a kid. Makes you realize how sheltered and protective we our of kids these days...they are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for!

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.

5 comments :

  1. "Not so sensitive European" here; one of my nieces has been to an outdoor Kindergarten for the past few years. And eventhough she was always a kid who like to play in the dirt, this made her a lot tougher I think. Where other kids cry when they fall down, she just brushes of the dirt and keeps on goin as if nothing happend. Just wondering what will happen when she will enter elementry school this summer, having to sit still and all :-)

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  2. great post! we had forest school when i was a kid. yeah, it was called "get the hell out from under my feet" and after a while it changed to " get up early and get out to the woods before mom put me to work" school. all us neighborhood kids, from 4-ish to 14-ish ran the woods all day every day, doing stuff i wouldn't think about now that i know the dangers out there but it made us independent and self reliant. hell, the older kids carried guns...glad to see these schools now.

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  3. Very interesting. The only place I ever heard of anything like this was me growing up. I was home-schooled from the start and never wanted anything different. Mr. Wolf, if you're not already considering it, do some considering, for your kids' sake. If you do some research about the new "common core", you will find that it is setup to indoctrination your kids (with questions like "If there is a lawyer, a doctor, a mom and her baby, and an elderly person on a sinking ship and the life boat only holds 4 people, who should stay behind? Answer: Elderly person). Getting involved in a good group is a help too. I know from experience (student's end). Anyway, I grew up on a 165 acre pine tree plantation with 2 ponds on it in the deep south. I did basically this kind of thing all the time, whenever I felt like it. I could get my school work done by noon and then have all day to hunt, fish, trap, climb trees and do all sorts of (dangerous) stuff in the woods. Also when I got a little older (10 or so), my dad let me take a gun (single shot 20 Ga.) for snake protection (we have lot of water moccasins). I was even aloud to paddle around in our boat in the ponds by myself. Not only did I spend a lot of time playing in the woods I also (being the oldest son) did a good bit of work, wether it was mowing the grass (several acres of yard), weed eating, bush-hogging, gardening and all sort of chores that not only built strength, but also responsibility. I would not trade those days for anything.

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  4. Sounds awesome! I plan to home school my kids. In addition to a healthy does of liberalism, public schools do everything they can to teach kids to shut up, sit still, and shut of their brains--not exactly the recipe for great leadership skills.

    My only worry is I don't want my kids to be sheltered, awkward, or anti-social--things like this "forest school" are the perfect solution for those concerns. Get kids into a group, puts them outside, and encourages them do something constructive--rather than drooling and growing brain dead in the neighborhood government education facility.

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    1. Actually, some of the nicest and most out going people I know were homeschooled. Lots of people think us home-schoolers are a nervous reck when it comes to meeting new people. That is just not true. People that think that probably don't spend a lot of time with home-schoolers. And between field trips (our group would have at least a meeting at a local park monthly, even in the off months, and lots of times field trips too) and regular talking to people (the cashier at the grocery store, neighbors, and just any body you might run into that would talk to you kids) the will be just fine. Besides, everyone is concerned about home-schooled kids not being able to socialize with people, and then they go to school and what do they get in trouble for? Socializing! Of course it depends on the personality of the child too. Some children are just outgoing while others are naturally shy. Really though, I wouldn't worry too much about them being socialized. Great decision to homeschool you kids. You won't regret it.

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