How to start your own forest school
I have been reading everything I can get my hands on lately about forest kindergartens.
In our family, we try to get our kids outside as much as possible. I took some outdoor education classes in University and grew up with an enviromentalist dad… so lots of hiking, provincial parks, overnight camp, enjoying nature… and of course learning about composting.
When I heard about forest kindergartens, I have been looking everywhere to see if there is an outdoor school option nearby…. there isn’t.
However, it is really great that there are so many resources available, books, videos and online.
Some of my favourite books so far are:
Richard Louv’s Last child in the woods – which discusses the real dangers of keeping your kids indoors, hint: nature deficit disorder.
Lenore Skenazy’s Free range kids, which puts danger into perspective for the worried parent.
Mike Lanza’s Playborhood, that has many fun ideas for your neighbourhood.
However, my most recent read, which sent me down my most recent rabbit hole of outdoor education and my discovery of forest kindergartens, is the book The Danish way of parenting. This book struck me as the ideal way to raise children. Filled with play, a mellow approach, closeness. This is probably one of my favourite all time parenting reads, along with free range kids, which was really hard to top.
Today, it was beautiful here, so I took the oldest out of school and we had our own forest kindergarten.
We spent just over 4 hours in the forest. We learned about how trees grow, saw ladybugs, and investigated moss. We climbed many logs, and jumped in lots of puddles. The kids sang and worked together to build shelters. We brought along lunch and took our time playing in a few great spots. When it was time to move on, I warned them early, then clapped my hands twice, they responded with 2 claps. I then moved along and they followed along behind me, ahead of me, and sometimes stopping to check out the forest near me.