Forest schools and nature preschools seem to be all the rage today, with more popping up every week across North America, Europe and Australia. And with good reason. For young children, the benefits of forest school are both plentiful and profound. But what is forest school exactly?
The original Scandinavian forest schools are preschools and day cares where children spend most of their day outside, every day, regardless of the weather. Unlike most American preschools, the focus of this type of early education is not to teach academic facts, but to give kids the opportunity to play freely in nature.
There are no behavior charts, worksheets, letter writing exercises or word walls, and the activities are child-centered. The teachers view themselves as “co-discoverers” and guides who explore and experience nature alongside the children.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit and study many forest schools in Scandinavia over the years, and this month I’m sharing what I’ve learned over at Preschool Inspirations, where I’m now a monthly contributor. Head over there to read my full story about the benefits of forest school!