History of Forest Schools
In Europe, forest schools date back to the early 1900’s. Forest schools are based on the idea of children having child led activities in nature, learning about animals, plants and weather through discovery based learning.
What makes a Forest School different than traditional schools?
Children spend 100% of the time outside rain or shine. Children are dressed appropriately in proper gear.
Activities and materials are provided by nature. Children observe birds and slugs, take nature hikes, children explore building forts and sticks and leaves. Climbing trees is a daily activity. Teachers bring along a forest school kit bag fully equipped with safety gear and first aid materials.
Forest Schools are unlicensed and usually a 4 hour maximum during the preschool and Kindergarten years. All program under 4 hours are exempt from licensing. Into the Woods is owned and operated by the Montessori of Alameda School a fully licensed Montessori school that has been in business for 25 years.
Although the Forest school can not be licensed due to the nature of the curriculum (climbing trees, cooking over an open fire, we do follow all safety and sanitation codes and all of our teachers have, background checks and first aid and CPR and experience working with young children. We require all of our Forest staff to meet or exceed licensing requirements. Forest staff have extra training in working with children in wooded settings to insure safety and a positive experience.
Most Forest schools expect parents to drop off at a variety of locations. Into the Woods is catering to working families and offers drop off and pick up at our Alameda Annex.
Waterproof gear is a must. Rainy days are the most fun with all kinds of critters that come out. Puddles are also a fun source of entertainment.
As Forest Schools are starting to gain momentum and many are licensed in Europe and now California. We hope to be a fully licensed all day Forest School one day.
Forest Schools focus on character development and respect for all living things. Of course children are learning about nature and the world they live in which are valuable outdoor skills. There is a focus on observation of nature which builds focus and concentration and Kindergarten readiness.
Forest Schools bring children with excess energy to a nice calm. Children who are sometimes quiet can be come more socialized through nature.