NATURE & PLAY: CEDARSONG FOREST KINDERGARTEN
“Children belong in nature, and nature belongs in education”
We travel today to Vashon Island (Washington, USA) to learn more about the Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten, an entirely outdoor preschool for ages 2-6 years old.
Cedarson Nature School opened recently the Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten, the first U.S. Forest Kindergarten based on the German model of Waldkindergartens (also very common in Scandinavia, where children spend most of their days outside, rain or shine).
Cedarsong Nature School’s philosophy is that children need to spend a large portion of their day outdoors to get the stimulation and natural learning experinces they are born to crave.
They truly believe that hand-on experiential learning is the best educational approach for children. Being outdoors provides them with not only fresh air, it encourages imaginative play, creativity, hand-eye coordination, balance, physical strength and mental clarity.
The Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten program is designed by Erin Kenny, who has spent two decades developing nature programs for children and is internationally recognized as a Nature Immersion expert.
This preschool is distinguished by its commitment to total nature immersion, interest-let flow learning, emergent curriculum, place-based focus, inquiry-based teaching style and authentic play.
The Cedarsong way teaching method is quite unique: there is no pre-determined curriculum, lesson plans flow organically from what nature presents and from children’s interest. The goal is to tap into the children’s sense of wonder about nature while teaching basic environmental and natural science principles in the field.
This preschool operates throughout the school year (Monday through Friday, 9 am-1pm), serves organic snacks and seasonal foraged foods, classes sizes are small with a 4:1 student:teacher ratio, and they accept up to 2 high functioning autism spectrum, SPD or ADHD diagnosed children in each of their classes. Impressive!
I would like to finish this post with the trailer of “NaturePlay: Take Childhood Back“, an award-winning brand new documentary that offers an inspiring look at Scandinavia’s nature based education system:
We really need to take childhood back and save humanity’s connection to nature!