With gardens popping up in more and more schools, some schools are actually taking outdoor learning one step above. At the private Waldork School, they now have Forest Kindergarten! Here’s an excerpt:
“SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Fat, cold droplets splashed from the sky as the students struggled into their uniforms: rain pants, boots, mittens and hats. Once buttoned and bundled, they scattered toward favorite spaces: a crab apple tree made for climbing, a cluster of bushes forming a secret nook under a willow tree, a sandbox growing muddier by the minute.
They planted garlic bulbs, discovered a worm. The rain continued to fall. It was 8:30 a.m. on a recent Wednesday, and the Waldorf School’s “forest kindergarten” was officially in session.
Schools around the country have been planting gardens and planning ever more elaborate field trips in hopes of reconnecting children with nature. The forest kindergarten at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs is one of a handful in the United States that are taking that concept to another level: its 23 pupils, ages 3 ½ to 6, spend three hours each day outside regardless of the weather. This in a place where winter is marked by snowdrifts and temperatures that regularly dip below freezing. “ (read more here)
How exciting! I’m ecstatic that more and more schools are recognizing the benefits of outdoor learning! Although I’m pretty certain that a forest will never spontaneously appear in downtown LA, I’m loving that there are so many different ways kids can participate through experiential learning. I might be a little bias, but learning through nature is the best way to go!