Forest Schools

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There are places in the world where kids go to school not in classrooms, but in the woods. The Forest Schools movement became popular in Scandinavia in the 1950s. Forest schools can take many forms – from just one day a week in the woods to schools where there are no buildings: all day, every day is outdoors. These schools serve mostly younger children – 4- to 7-year-olds – but there are some forest school programs that serve older students, too.

This week on the podcast, Emily Hanford goes to Quechee, Vermont to understand why teachers there wanted to take their kindergarteners into the forest, and what the kids – and the teachers – are learning from the experience.

Update: Forest Kindergarten featured on NPR. Check it out: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/05/26/407762253/out-of-the-classroom-and-into-the-woods

Kindergartners from the Ottauquechee School in Quechee, Vermont build a log cabin during a "Forest Monday" session. (Photo: Chas Goldman)

Kindergartners from the Ottauquechee School in Quechee, Vermont build a log cabin during Forest Monday. (Photo: Chas Goldman)

A kindergartner from the Ottauquechee School in Quechee, Vermont in the woods for a Forest Monday session. (Photo: Chas Goldman)

A kindergartner from the Ottauquechee School in Quechee, Vermont in the woods for Forest Monday. (Photo: Chas Goldman)

6th grader from Guilford Central School blowing on the fire during a Friday forest school session. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

6th grader from Guilford Central School blowing on the fire during Forest Friday. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Links mentioned in the ‘cast:  

Forest Kindergarten, Quechee, VT. Blog, post from April 6, 2015, the day Emily visited

Eliza Minnucci and Meg Teachout’s new website

Forest 6th grade, Guilford, VT

Film: School’s Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten

David Sobel’s research on children in nature

 

Emily Hanford recording kindergarteners from the Ottauquechee School in Quechee, Vermont. (Photo: Chas Goldman)

Emily Hanford recording kindergarteners from the Ottauquechee School in Quechee, Vermont. (Photo: Chas Goldman)