Children climb and balance, observe seasonal changes in nature and explore the environment on their own terms, playing with what they find. No, it’s not a scene from Hundred Acre Wood… It’s just another day in Wildflowers Kindergarten.
To explain, forest schools take learning outdoors for a part of the day, exploring the woods and collecting treasures, building a den and climbing trees and sometimes, taking the lessons outdoors, away from the classroom. The concept of forest schools began in early 90s, based on a Scandinavian idea that recognises the importance of children’s contact with nature.
Founded by Swedish Helena Nilsson in 2005 Wildflowers provide a unique learning environment for young children age 2 1/2 and up to 5 1/2 years old.
The school has its base in a barn with immediate access to around 25 play areas in nearby woods and parkland. This is where the children will spend most of their time, learning through play in their natural habitat.
Wildflowers provides care and education based on the Scandinavian forest school model, which is rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted. The school run term time, Mondays to Fridays 9.15 am to 2.45 pm. www.wildflowers-kindergartens.co.uk.
Personally we had our firstborn in a forest school in Norway and she absolutely loved here time there. As long as you have kitted them correctly with a base layer in wool, wind and waterproofs, they will be more than happy to play outdoors all year. We also found that she learned a lot, through their adventure in nature.
To find a forest school near you, have a look at forestschoolassociation.org