What Are Outdoor Preschool, Forest Kindergarten, and Nature Preschools?
Posted by The Learning Box Preschool on Aug 20th 2021
Outdoor schooling is not a new concept. Whether called Outdoor Preschools, Nature Preschools, or Forest Kindergartens, each shares common goals of being nature-based programs, providing high-quality early childhood education, and promoting environmental literacy with today's youth.
What Are the Benefits of Nature Preschools?
Nature-based learning has been a growing trend in recent years but has seen even more interest during the COVID pandemic because of the decreased risk of transmission in an open air space. The benefits of outdoor learning go far beyond safe social distancing practices. Being outdoors has positive benefits for people of all ages, including promoting physical activity and mental health. Putting a child's formal education into such a beneficial and healthy environment gives them many advantages for learning and growth.
Integrating the Preschoolers with the Outdoors
While traditional classrooms look for ways to integrate nature into the curriculum, outdoor educational models look for ways to weave learning into the outdoor experience naturally. Nature is the central unifying theme of any early childhood educational outdoor program. This means preschoolers spend a significant portion of their instructional time outdoors, and only some programs are held entirely outdoors. Some programs have dedicated open-air outdoor classrooms explicitly built for educational purposes. Other "classrooms" are in the woods or open fields, with the only shelter being a lean-to or an outdoor bathroom.
Design elements of the classroom space and the curriculum rely on nature. Instead of chairs and desks, children may sit on logs, tree stumps, or directly on the ground. Classrooms may forego a traditional play kitchen for a mud kitchen and replace conventional building blocks with rocks and sticks. Students practice counting, sorting, and organizing with natural math manipulatives that they've gathered themselves, such as acorns or leaves. Instead of only coloring pictures of four trees to represent the four seasons, they are outdoors year-round, observing the natural effects of seasonal changes on their environment.
Supplement Outdoor Play with Learning Box Preschool Curriculum
In outdoor preschools, the learning is primarily based on child-led, play-based, organic discoveries. At the same time, the teacher also implements early-childhood best practices to give students a complete educational experience. Learning Box Preschool curriculum is an excellent way for teachers or homeschool parents to combine a creative and unique curriculum written by experienced educators with the benefits of outdoor education. The monthly program includes themed lessons and materials and is designed for ease of use. It comes in a 3-day or 5-day lesson plan, both covering the same information, so you can choose the plan that best meets the needs of your preschool's schedule. We believe you should only implement developmentally appropriate lessons for your students. Our lesson plans are fully customizable, and they are an excellent option for outdoor preschools to make sure your students are prepared for Kindergarten.
To learn more about our high-quality preschool curriculum and how to integrate it into your Nature Preschool, contact us today. We would love to help you combine a state-aligned curriculum with the beauty of outdoor learning.