NATURE AS A CLASSROOM. FOREST SCHOOL AS AN ALTERNATIVE WAY OF LEARNING

The Danish education system is known for its innovative ways of teaching which promotes creativity and critical thinking among students. One of the most known is the Forest School.

By Yemen Al Fadel and Andrés Solís Mardones

The team of Nordic Nature International Preschool is planning to establish the first international forest kindergarten in Denmark. This team is aiming at educating children in a natural environment where they can be physically active and experience adventure while exploring the outdoor world.

Defined by Claudia Mclean a former International School of Hellerup teacher “A forest kindergarten is a place where children spend about 80% of the school day outdoors (…). There is less emphasis on academics and testing and more emphasis on play and hands-on inquiry learning”.

Nordic Nature International Preschool

 

“In Scandinavian countries we have a belief or a tradition that children and nature belong together or have a connection or links together that you can get education or learning from being in nature”, said Professor Peter Bentsen.

 

Benefits of learning in a forest school:

In word of Jane Williams-Siegfredsen the most important approaches of the forest school are first of all this system is focused in a holistic way of learning and development. This consist in the caring about the intellectual, emotional, social, physical, creative and spiritual potential of every child.

 

”I believe that children will develop a lifelong connection with nature if they spend a large part of their childhood in nature”, said Claudia McLean.

Also the system believes that every child is unique and competent in their own way, the way they think, feel and interact with others. Children need an environment to flourish and grow their positive self-esteem.

Taken by Yemen Al Fadel

 

Kids Through active learning have the possibility of  being in constantly changing, adjusting, and rearranging meaning and understanding of things. First hand experiences develop an understanding of themselves and the environment they are in. There should be an understanding that children need to be in harmony with the environment.

And the learning they can get from social interactions helps children develop self-confidence and master challenges in their world.

 

Other advantages that children can experience while being educated in green and refreshing areas are: “Fresh air, less stress, less noise, less exposure to illness, increased opportunity for motor skill development, daily use of all senses, better understanding of the natural world, increased social skills, increased empathy.

A normal day for a kid in a forest kindergarten:

 

Children might participate in several activities during a school day in the green. In words of Claudia McLean some examples of what might happen are: “cooking outside together, water play, digging a hole, observing animal signs and habitats, observing the changing seasons, climbing trees, building shelters, engaging in imaginary play, visits to the beach, making art out of natural items, planting, plucking a chicken or pheasant, visiting a farm, etc.”

 

The team of Nordic Nature International Preschool is inviting families to give their children the opportunity to discover their interests and their place in this world by engaging with outdoor world. This results with children developing a bond with nature that will be forever cherished.

“People tend to care about things they have developed a relationship with.  I hope that at least one result of attending a forest kindergarten will be that the children will develop an appreciation for nature and act on it to help our planet”, stated by Claudia McLean.