Forest Schools – Is Outdoor Education the Future?

Hey all,

I’ve been a bit MIA these past few weeks working on other projects, but I’ll be back on my blog schedule soon!

In the meantime I’ll share with you an interesting and intriguing topic: forest schools. Alive magazine did a neat article on them last year and it really piqued my curiosity, as I had never heard of them before. Education in a forest school (or ‘Bush School’, ‘Nature Kindergarten’, ‘Rain or Shine School’, etc.) takes place mainly outdoors, offering kids a chance to connect with and learn from the environment.  Here are a few excerpts from forest school philosophies around the world (click on the titles for links).
What do you think? Is this the way education is meant to be? 🙂

Forest School Canada
“Our mission is to foster rich learning experiences, ecological literacy, and healthy living by connecting children to nature through the use of the Forest School model in the early, primary, and secondary years.”

“Our vision is for all children to play and learn in local forests, creeks, meadows, prairie grasses, mountains, and shorelines with a wise and skilled educator who understands the power of play…and how this can contribute to a more sustainable world.”

Cedarsong Nature School – Washington, USA
“Part of our mission is to carefully record notes regarding  each year’s plant growth, and animal and insect activity, creating a database for the public record. It is our goal to not only reach people who have a predisposition towards nature but also those who do not have access to this type of experience, such as people who live in urban environments.”

Wesley Clover Parks SchoolOttawa, ON
“Fill your days with fun. Hunt for the treasures of the woods. Find shortcuts to magical worlds. Build forts. Track animals. Tell stories. Are you an explorer? Are you a cartographer, a local historian, a budding naturalist? We need your help to chart our paths, uncover the stories the land holds, and unlock the secrets of the rocks and trees and the creatures who live among them.”

Forest International SchoolFrance
All children have twice weekly sport lessons with specialist teachers. In the Autumn and Summer terms, they also have regular swimming lessons with a qualified instructor. We incorporate the forest environment in our learning approach, using the outdoors as much as possible. Children are not only getting fresh air, but experience first-hand how learning can take place seamlessly through fun activities.”

-Emily

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