Thursday, June 19, 2014

Alternative Schooling

Have you heard of schools that teach outdoors? Have your kids ever attended such a school? I have done a little research into this area and found that there are a number of countries that teach outdoors and have seen the benefits of this unconventional method.

I discovered via a shared post on Facebook an Environmental School in Maple Ridge. It is an outdoor school for grades K - 7. Yes you heard me right, outdoors, there are no class rooms, they build fortes and learn in a natural environment no matter the weather conditions. Unfortunately I am outside the school district and the area I live in seems to be one of a few that does not have such a program but I am hoping this project will prove a success so that it expands. I believe there are other schools similar in North Vancouver and Richmond.

This video below is a Forest School in the UK.

Having had one of my kids in a Forest School in the UK I have an understanding what these schools provide. They love to be outdoors as much as possible, learning to sit quiet on a log or patch of grass, near a stream etc, learn to listen to the sounds, what is around them, observe their surroundings. You will be surprised how hard kids find it to be still and quiet. Reading stories, learning about nature, how to work with nature. Build hotels for bugs, create art from nature, climb trees, build fortes, working as a team. Kids work differently outside too and another side of their personalities come out, even the quiet and timid seem to blossom when they have space. You may be pleased to know Forest Schools have now been bought to Canada.

As I have mentioned in an earlier post I went to a one day training program for helpers who wish to participate at the school. It was a wet, cold, grey English day but we dressed for the weather and we had a fabulous time. I felt fresh and alive and I had energy, I also slept like a baby that night too. I have also met Jon Cree the Chair of the UK Forest School Association. He can climb trees better than anyone I have ever seen.

To get an idea of what it is all about and see some of the videos visit their site here.

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