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Forest kindergarten

(7 Posts)
junkyardgyp Sat 11-May-13 16:36:45

Hi wanting to get an impression of interest for forest kindergarten. The idea is to have a permanent base well developed for outdoor play, rope bridges, swings, log climbing, balancing, tool area, willow dens, sand and unstructured materials to explore, hammocks and teepee tents to access for shelter. Built into the day will be a nature trail. Is this something that appeals, look forward to hearing your thoughts.

TiggyD Sat 11-May-13 19:58:55

Qualified Nursery Worker with 20 years experience and a love of the outside here. A nursery that focusses entirely on the outside is as bad as one that focusses entirely on the inside. Your idea has been suggested before but I just don't think it's practical and it's too full on for nearly all customers. I think a hybrid forest nursery/regular nursery is what you should be looking into.
If you're based in the south, message me!

Tanith Sat 11-May-13 22:17:13

I don't agree that it's necessarily a bad thing. In Scandinavia, where these forest schools began, there are many kindergartens that have no indoor provision at all: the children are outdoors all year round in all weathers, even the babies. They are totally geared up and prepared for it.

I don't know of such a kindergarten in this country. They tend to spend half a day or so in the Forest provision and I suspect it's cancelled due to poor weather an awful lot more often than it would need to be in, say, Denmark.

stargirl1701 Sat 11-May-13 22:19:51

I'm planning to use a forest nursery one day a week with DD. Two fab choices nearby. I love the forest schools ethos.

TiggyD Sat 11-May-13 23:16:40

One of the principles of childcare today is giving children choice of how to learn. An outdoor only nursery restricts that choice to the outdoors, and outdoor learning tends to be quite adult led - "come here children, we're doing this" rather than creating an environment where they can access and implement their own learning.

I think Scandinavia gets more dry snowy weather in winter as opposed to cold and wet weather. I'm an all weather walker and I know how hard it is to stay dry and therefore warm some days. There is one 'nomadic' nursery in Scotland somewhere.

I do like the forest nursery ethos and like the OPs ideas, but I think I could implement it better by making the outside optional and encouraging the children out rather than forcing them.

Stargirl said she'd like to use such a nursery 1 day a week and on various forums that is quite a commonly expressed wish. To treat it more like an activity centre rather than a daycare thing.

stargirl1701 Sun 12-May-13 07:36:10

Here are the ones I am aware of:

http://www.mindstretchers.co.uk/nature-kindergartens.cfm

http://www.woodlandoutdoorkindergartens.com/

http://www.secretgardenoutdoor-nursery.co.uk/

Tanith Sun 12-May-13 12:33:15

Outdoor learning doesn't have to be adult-led, though. So long as the environment is properly set up and the adults and children are correctly dressed, there is no reason why they can't stay outside all day.

I would even suggest that the outdoors lends itself far better to child-led learning because, unlike indoor provision, you have very little control over the discoveries the children make and the interests that are likely to follow.

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