Let’s get outside!


Sorry for not writing in a couple of days.  I really enjoy writing every day, it focuses my thoughts and, I think, therefore makes me a better teacher. However, the last few days have been so busy and I did not know how to address it on this blog. But last night I went to a talk that made things seem much clearer for me.

A few things have changed with my school and as a result we will need to make some big changes in the new year.  Yes this is a few months away, but there is oh so much to do.  Sadly we will need to move to a new space, which also probably means new students as our current space is very far out of town.  But, whilst this seems completely overwhelming, it is also incredibly exciting.  It is forcing me to rethink my school and what I want it to be. I will talk more about this in another post when I have it more solidified in my mind!

But, for now I would like share my thoughts that stemmed from this book, and this  talk last night.  Have you heard of Nature Deficit Disorder?  It was something I had heard of but didn’t really understand.  I am learning that we really need to expose our children to nature.  Yes it does seem obvious, but I was mostly brought up in a city so it doesn’t come naturally to me…..I so wish it did.  Getting outside was for vacations, not the everyday.  We want it to be different for our children, which is why we moved to this part of the country!  In our school we always spend part of the morning outside, whatever the weather.  I try to offer things to provoke their exploration – sand, water, pine cones etc  We go on hikes.  We visit the farm.  We work on the garden.

But it has never felt natural.  It pushes me out of my comfort zone I guess, but I love to see how free the children are outside, and there is rarely any squabbling!

At the talk the Forest Kindergartens of Germany were discussed.  This is a movement that is now spreading.  They sound wonderful don’t they!  Let’s give the children the freedom to explore in nature, with the comforting rhythm of school.  Well, I am inspired to know more and to possibly think of this as a path for me to follow with my school.  I feel that Reggio and Waldorf fit perfectly with an outside program.

Anyway, these are just the seeds of ideas.  But who knows, they may lead to more! I am very open to ideas and suggestions in these early planning stages.

What do you know of these Forest Kindergartens?

How to you incorporate nature into your program?


One response »

  1. I agree that schools in general suffer from nature deficit. My own school has only a blacktop parking loy for play. The bird feeders that we have enjoyed so much have been removed because the church where the school is located didn’t like the “mess” the birds made. I teach a 1st/2nd grade combined class. This is my first year teaching and I am trying to create a Reggio-inspired classroom. Any advise on how to “teach” the essentials while still keeping true to Reggio.

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