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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Forest kindergartens come to Britain...

Forest kindergartens come to Britain...

Would you like your children to get back to nature in a kindergarten without a ceiling or walls? I bet you would. Would you like your children spending time playing in the fresh air, being freed from the constrictions of urban life settings? Again I bet you would.

For decades "forest" kindergartens have existed in Scandinavia and Germany, and have now reached the United Kingdom - with the 'Secret Garden' in Scotland being the first outdoor nursery school for two to five year olds spending all day in a woodland, come rain, hail or shine.

They observe animals, plant gardens, collect firewood and climb trees (oh how politically incorrect). When temperatures dip to sub-zero, they reteat to a cosy tent. The founder, Cathy Bache, reportedly said "that being among nature builds resilience, creativity and a sense of place. There are no toys, but plenty of space and opportunity to go where the imagination may take us". How brilliantly refreshing!

In a general sense a wood or forest kindergarten is a type of preschool that was first conceived in Scandinavia in the 1950's and Germany in the late 1960's. There it was a daycare centre for children aged three to six years of age, exclusively outdoors in nature.

It is known as an outdoor preschool in British English and a waldkindergarten in German. It is simply a forest kindergarten or a nature preschool, and is a brilliant concept in my opinion.

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