Forest Schooling IS Invisible Schooling
How do you ensure the children are safe in the forest?
Safety is our highest priority and we are constantly aware of the environment and all changes that are happening including the children’s abilities and energies as well as the weather and location.
Our instructors are specially trained to recognize forest and nature dangers and prevent unnecessary risks while children play in the forest. We teach children to recognize and assess their own safety levels and ensure that the boundaries around their play are clear and followed. Some inherent risk occurs while children play in the forest, however, we feel that this risk is developmentally appropriate and satisfies children’s need for challenge and growth of their physical and emotional selves.
It looks like they are just playing, what are they learning?
Play is the most important learning tool for children up to age 7. Through play, children learn social skills, develop their own identity, build self confidence, learn to see things from another person’s point of view (role playing) which develops empathy and compassion, and delve deeply into their unique passions.
Through play children learn complex lessons around math and literacy (see our chart below), physics (“when I add water, the mud gets runnier”, “that rock went farther because it was bigger”), biology (“the slug has eye stalks instead of regular eyes like me”, “the bees die at the end of the summer”) and personal awareness (“I need to take my sweater off because I have been running”, “I am scared, will you help me”).
Yes, the children are playing, but they are learning a wealth of knowledge while they do. The benefit of allowing children to learn this immersed in a forest, is that their learning has real world context. They learn math WHILE learning two different plant species, or they learn physics with water WHILE learning about eco systems and the bugs/animals that live in muddy water. All this WHILE they learn about their own comfort levels and body cues.
Will my child be ready for kindergarten?
While some of the activities at Find Us Outside may look very different than at other early learning programs, the same skills are being learned. Here is a chart to help you see how our program meets or exceeds statewide early learning standards:
*The art of tracking is the process of looking for changes and using those changes as clues to tell the larger story of the area. People often refer to tracking as looking at footprints. That is one use, however, it can be used for anything such as the clouds rolling in might mean a storm is coming, or ground being wet means that it has recently rained, etc. Awareness and tracking are really inseparable and we teach both in high doses at forest school.
Forest school is not for every child or every family. Some families choose to send their children just to forest school and some use a combination of conventional preschool and forest school. Whatever your family chooses, we will work to make sure your child is ready for the next step of their education.