Forest Schools are also called Forest kindergartens, or in the German language, Waldkindergartens. This type of education surfaced in Scandinavia in the 1950's and then began to flourish in the 1990's. There are thousands of forest schools throughout Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. In the last decade, forest schools began popping up in the United States and are becoming more and more popular.
Fields of Green Montessori School was originally created with environmental education as a cornerstone in the creation of its traditional Montessori curriculum 25 years ago. It was a "green" school long before the term was coined. We have always taught environmental themes woven into the Montessori curriculum, made sure kids were outside for at least two hours a day, and often took walks into the woods to discover nature's treasures. Debra Smorto, our school's founder, began her career as a naturalist and when asked to substitute in her own children's Montessori school, found that the philosophy was the perfect marriage between nature and hands-on education. She expended this marriage into a vision for her own school, which began as Fledglings Montessori School in 1997 and later evolved into Fields of Green.
Our new Forest School program, however, goes one step further by offering complete immersion into nature, with students staying outside no matter the weather. Besides a shelter for extreme weather or various activities (or indoors only if necessary), the kids will enjoy many hours outdoors each day with their teachers, exploring the woods while learning all that can be offered in an outdoor setting, and that includes academic subjects, taught simply by and through their outdoor experiences.
Forest schools take children into their natural learning environment and allow them to develop many skills by doing what comes natural to them. They are guided by their teachers, who are taught themselves to go with the flow of the experience at hand and insert the lessons that evolve from it. The early bonding experiences of kids with nature will serve as a strong foundation for environmental values and behaviors as they mature into responsible adults.
In this world of increasing exposure and addiction to technology, these types of schools may well be a life preserver for your child who in turn may become a life preserver for his/her world.
It is the goal of Fields of Green to eventually develop other levels of forest school education over time. For now, however, we will start with the most important level of development, the three- to six-year-old child. We hope that you join our forest school family and embrace all that your child brings home each day - a well-exercised body, a bright mind full of memories of the day, maybe some special sticks and rocks, and best of all - dirty clothes, the true sign that your child immersed in his/her world of discovery.
Call or email us for more information and pricing.