Recipetips: The Next Generation of Educators
The Forest Preschool movement has become a larger part of the education community in recent years. This movement seeks to recognize children’s discovery and playful development as a component of their everyday life – even when they are in a preschool setting. Early education education provides children with critical tools to deal with reality – placing children in environments in which there is flexibility in what they can discover, play, learn, and experiment with.
While this experience in the classroom may at first seem just the same as other time spent in a classroom, with the playing parts that come with this, children can explore a whole new world that many of them may not otherwise have experienced. A Forest Preschool allows children to discover what is going on around them, to build play into their daily routines, or even be surprised with daily experiences. When children interact with new families and children while growing up, many of the preconceived ideas of what family life should be in the 21st century can be challenged.
The Forest Preschool movement supports children in living new lives and becoming familiar with new forms of behavior, from sleeping through the night to eating milk or not eating milk to walking to school instead of riding a bike, sometimes in new directions and routines. The Forest Preschool movement in school settings allows children to explore what they already know about food and how it is prepared, but also how to connect to nature and a world of wonder that all kids can make their own. The Forest Preschool movement forces children to make the connections of food and living things in a different, more holistic way.
Through the environment of a Forest Preschool children have the opportunity to explore areas in their lives that may have been relegated to just their own little niche of imagination, while also being exposed to multiple family members from different cultural backgrounds. This provides children with the opportunity to also become more worldly and accepting, and opens many doors for both education and social interactions that would not otherwise be thought of as fair or equitable.
As a study on the growing popularity of Forest Preschools revealed, 85% of respondents thought that children growing up in a Forest Preschool environment see benefits from the learning process in school that don’t have to do with formal schooling. This offers children opportunities to grow through a more natural, intimate and relevant setting than a traditional classroom.
The Forest Preschool movement teaches children the value of breaking down gender and cultural taboos, allowing children to explore new customs and ways of doing things without being judged for their differences. Many of these traditions and cultures – like with Native American traditions and rituals – help children understand and connect with more customs and cultures that are often not even a thought for many of their friends. This highlights the importance of cultural diversity in the classroom, which education programs like these should continue to support and explore.
Being exposed to children from different backgrounds allows for positive educational interactions between children. By bringing diverse family and family members together, students learn how to explore unfamiliar experiences and adjust in new ways. Children can even see how the expectations placed on them are changed, through the new behavior exhibited by their peers or by other family members. This offers a new kind of learning experience and allows for new ways of learning about how societies have evolved over time.
Many Forest Preschools offer open access to the classroom. Preschool participation options and fees can vary greatly, but the Forest Preschool movement has shown that open access allows for the collection of all families, regardless of the family’s financial situation. Many Forest Preschools offer off-site programs, allowing families and others to participate when and where they are needed most.
People across the country are expressing a desire to support these programs and encourage more children to attend and be part of the Forest Preschool movement. It’s easy to use open enrollment platforms to look for local programs that allow open enrollment of student participants. Forest Preschools offer programming for children from just about every walk of life, so if you’re trying to plan a day out with your own kids, or if you have children who would like to play with and learn from other kids, see if your local Forest Preschool can help you on your journey!