Forest School Movement in the News
Forest Kindergartens Push Back Against Academic Focus for Young Kids
KQED The California Report Nov 14, 2014
by Katrina Schwartz full article & audio
For many children, even young ones, school has become more of a training ground for the tests used to measure the efficacy of their teachers and schools than a place to learn about the world. As pressure to focus on academics pushes into ever younger grades, some parents are being drawn to alternatives that they hope will help inspire their children to discover a lifelong love of learning.
Children are being connected to Nature right in the Library (with a section on "The Rise of Forest Schools")
School Library Journal Dec 23, 2015
by Rebecca Zarazan Dunn full article
A “back-to-nature” movement is afoot at schools and libraries across the country. Forest schools, also called “nature schools” for preschool and kindergarten-aged children, are popping up across North America...
THE RISE OF FOREST SCHOOLS
Starting in the 1950s, many European countries adopted the early childhood practice of child-led inquiry in outdoor environments. Snow, wind, rain, or shine, children are outside with their instructors engaging in free play. With no rigid academic standards, are these students behind when they enter grade school? Far from it. Many of the countries that implement a forest school model, such as Switzerland and those in Scandinavia, are some of the smartest and happiest countries in the world.
Now, this movement is starting to take off here at home. Lia Grippo, founder, director, and preschool lead teacher of Wild Roots Forest School in Santa Barbara, CA, believes the growth of nature-based schools has been fueled by both educators and parents. “Recent trends in early-years education have moved towards a focus on acquiring and drilling direct academic skills and facts, and away from play and alternatives that honor the needs of young children for near constant motion and play. One might say [parents] are looking to give children a more natural childhood.”
Laurel Fynes, kindergarten teacher in Mississauga, Ont., has found support for alternative pedagogies such as nature-based education. The ability to share practices through social media has been a motivating force behind the growth of nature-based education. Both Grippo and Fynes point to the global success of Richard Louv’s book, The Last Child in the Woods (Algonquin, 2008), as a catalyst in the nature education movement.
Trail Quest: Wild Roots Forest School
Songs of the Wilderness, May 30, 2012
by James Wapotich full article
article originally appeared in the Santa Barbara News Press, May 26, 2012
What if it was the power of meaningful play in nature that could change the world, save the environment and make us all better people?
And while the Wild Roots Forest School, doesn’t make this claim, studies have shown that kids who connect with the natural world at an early age are generally more self-confident, independent and creative. And that imaginative play outdoors fosters a sense of wonder and a deeper connection to the natural world...playing outdoors also brings a sense of well being to children and stimulates positive, collaborative social interactions. And that all of these combined can make one better prepared for real world situations and more adept at out of the box thinking.