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robertogreco : forestschools   4

Running Free in Germany’s Outdoor Preschools - The New York Times
"Robin Hood Waldkindergarten, which opened in 2005, is one of more than 1,500 waldkitas, or “forest kindergartens,” in Germany; Berlin alone has about 20. Most have opened in the last 15 years and are usually located in the city’s parks, with a bare-bones structure serving as a sort of home base, but others, like Robin Hood, rely on public transportation to shuttle their charges daily out into the wilderness, where they spend most of the day, regardless of weather. Toys, typically disparaged at waldkitas, are replaced by the imaginative use of sticks, rocks and leaves. A 2003 Ph.D. dissertation by Peter Häfner at Heidelberg University showed that graduates of German forest kindergartens had a “clear advantage” over the graduates of regular kindergartens, performing better in cognitive and physical ability, as well as in creativity and social development.

The American journalist Richard Louv, who coined the term “nature-deficit disorder” in his 2005 book, “Last Child in the Woods,” is cited often by Robin Hood staff, as is “Coyote’s Guide to Connecting With Nature,” by Jon Young, Ellen Haas and Evan McGown. (“Savage Park,” by Amy Fusselman, is another book that chronicles uninhibited play and was inspired by a visit to an adventure playground in Tokyo.) The pedagogical philosophy of waldkitas, which privileges outdoor play and hands-on environmental learning, comes originally from Scandinavia, but, as one teacher put it to me, “they don’t make a big fuss about it like they do here.” The trend’s non-Teutonic origins are somewhat surprising: There might be nothing “more German” than a state-funded preschool based primarily in a forest.

Germany has nearly three times as much protected land as the U.S., proportionate to the countries’ sizes, a nontrivial fact that highlights the way much of the country thinks about nature and its role in the emotional health of its citizens. “It’s terrible that kids today know all about technology but nothing about the little bird outside their window,” Peters said, gesturing out toward the woods and sounding like any number of quotable Germans, from Goethe to Beethoven to Bismarck, all of whom have rhapsodized on the psychic benefits of spending time in the forest. He continued: “In life, bad things happen — you lose your job or your partner or everyone just hates you — but you’ll always have this.”"

"THERE ARE SCATTERINGS of forest kindergartens in the U.S. as well as in the U.K. Even in Japan and South Korea, where education is famously strict, waldkitas are becoming increasingly popular. They have spread mostly through word-of-mouth among parents. And in Germany, it’s not just the wealthy — or the eccentric — who send their children. Like all other preschools in Berlin, tuition at Robin Hood is covered by the government for kids aged 2 through 6 (apart from a 100 euro per month fee because it’s a private school). New York City preschools can cost upward of $40,000 per year."
forestschools  preschool  schools  education  learning  children  germany  parenting  2017  nature  richardlouv  sfsh  amyfusselman  peterhäfner  outdoors  nyc  southkorea  japan  uk  berlin 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Wise Forest Preschool - Nature-Based Preschool Classes & Nature Camps
"Wise Forest Preschool is a child-centered outdoor preschool program with classes and camps held in a beautiful wooded area of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Our play-based curriculum is designed for children ages 2.5 to 5 and is modeled after European forest kindergartens. Activities include valuable free play time, hiking, hands-on ecology lessons, fort building, creative arts, and circle time. Our ratios are 4 students per teacher. We carefully observe each student's natural strengths and interests and we strive to empower them to embrace and cultivate their unique abilities.

Students have the opportunity to develop their senses, creativity, powers of observation, and coordination by exploring and engaging the natural environment. We foster emotional awareness, and we praise mindfulness, effort, and concentration. Our goal is to cultivate compassion, empathy, and a lasting connection to the natural world."
forestschools  sanfrancisco  preschool  schools  nature  goldengatepark  sfsh 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Parks Plus Creation
We believe that all children, in a safe, nurturing environment, have the capacity to learn and develop through play, sensory experiences and exploration. We empower each child to be a creative, competent, and curious explorer through our focus on collaborative learning, whole child development, sensory explorations, social and emotional development, care for nature and an overall understanding of the importance of building, not only kindergarten readiness skills, but life skills.

Collaborative Learning
Collaborative learning takes place between children, educators and parents. We are
all involved in the process of learning. We focus on listening, asking questions and being supportive of one another.

Whole Child
We respect and celebrate each child’s individuality, creativity and expression and are flexible as we support his/her unique way of learning. Each situation, interaction and relationship provides endless opportunities to expand our understanding of each child. We encourage the child to be involved in the process of understanding his/her strengths, challenges and interests. This process promotes positive self-image, confidence and competence. We adapt our curriculum to best meet those needs and interests through our dedication to open communication and reflection.

Sensory Exploration
Children learn best through the exploration of their senses. We provide opportunity for each child to be in a constant dialogue with his/her surrounding by promoting different ways to explore nature. Through experimentation children develop their cognition, problem solving, critical thinking, descriptive language and observation skills. Sensory activities also help to strengthen fine motor skills, critical for writing.

Social and Emotional Development
We focus closely on social and emotional development of each child, and the important process of cultivating meaningful relationships. Promoting emotional literacy, problem solving skills and language skills we help build self-esteem and the development of empathy. We develop creative solutions for conflict resolution by including the children in the process and planning, empowering them to believe in their own capabilities, and to help understand that they are a contributing part of a community.

Care for Nature
We foster respect and care for natural environments through education and exploration. All children are capable of caring for living things. Guiding children to protect the environment helps them gain a sense of responsibility. As a child builds a relationship with nature, he/she develops positive memories and experiences that will help add to the development of a lifelong connection to the environment. We hope to nurture the protection and better the understanding of nature for present and future generations.​

Life Skills
+ Observation skills
+ Critical thinking
+ Self regulation
+ Thoughtful problem solving
+ Conflict resolution
+ Confidence
+ Respect for natural environments and each other
+ Math, sequencing, categorizing, defining patterns
+ Language and vocabulary
+ Physical stamina and confidence, balance
+ Fine motor development and control
+ Cooperation
+ Reflection and curiosity"
schools  education  preschool  sanfrancisco  forestschools  sfsh  presidio 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Berkeley Forest School | Berkeley, California
"Berkeley Forest School is based on fundamental humanitarian principles, as well as respect for children and their ability to construct their own knowledge.

Children have the right to play, explore, and take risks, while conscious of their connection to the invigoratingly complex natural world we share.

Teachers support the rich wilderness of the children's imagination by facilitating their efforts in inquiry, investigation, and analysis.

We do not teach children what to think.
We cultivate experiences where children learn what it is to think for themselves: to develop their own ideas, and to test those ideas."

[See also:

"Forest Kindergartens Push Back Against Academic Focus For Young Kids"

"Best Options for a Forest School in the San Francisco Bay Area" ]
schools  berkeley  forestschools  lianachavarín  heathertaylor  kindergarten  preschool 
may 2017 by robertogreco

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