As outdoor programs gain popularity, more and more research on forest schools is to be found. The areas of benefit identified by a number of studies reflect the outcomes which time and again are associated with Forest School: Increased self-esteem and self-confidence Improved social skills The development of language and communication skills Improved physical motor skills Strengthens immune system Improved motivation Improved mental health Similarly prepared for elementary sc
As a teacher, emergent curriculum is often exciting, creative and satisfying in every way. It starts with presencing and listening, which means the child is being heard in a deep way. Theo asked, "Why are teas and juices different colors?" Great question!
We talked a bit and then wondered if we could make sun tea out of grass. The spring grass is vibrantly green. Maybe the tea would be green, too.
Sun tea doesn't work so well when your grass concoction is accidentally pour
Most kids love worms. I was not that kid. I'm not that adult. I'm thinking about worms because of our recent full moon, whose name is Worm Moon. Yeah, I'm a forest school teacher who should love worms. BUT . . . Secretly . . . Gross! I am happy to say that I have made a teeny weeny bit of progress with regards to my little wiggley neighbors. Thanks to some other littles. The children in my forest school created a spontaneous performance. I was invited to watch. It was a dive
One of the names for the March full moon is Worm Moon. Others are Wind Strong Moon and Goose Moon. Recently, while walking along Tomales Bay, my husband and I saw a pair of Canada Geese. . . . It's the little things like being with a mate who will linger for several quiet minutes to observe visiting geese. In spring, these geese eat grasses and sedges, including eelgrass, which is plentiful here. Canada Geese mate for life with very low divorce rates. The geese reminded m
Decisions! Decisions! We all make decisions every day. Should I drink some water now? Small daily decisions are typically not that big of a deal to make. What about big decisions? Recently, I had to make a BIG decision about forest school. It got me thinking about the process of decision making. In the past, decision making was grueling for me. Running in circles on my mental hamster wheel while obsessing over pros and cons. Sometimes our best teacher is the two legged or fou
One morning at forest school, the children went on a Color Hunt. The next day, they played a variation--a Color Matching Game. Is this bay nut more like this shade of red? Or that shade of red? Is this flower more like this shade of yellow? Or that shade of yellow? I used little paint sample cards (aka paint chips), which are often available for free where house paint is sold. I love those little cards! Just sayin'! After the Color Matching Game, drawing paper and crayons wer
One of the names for the February full moon is Storm Moon. Another is Snow Moon. Traditionally, the full moon name was given to each lunar cycle. My made-up name for this cycle is Welcome Newness Moon. Suddenly, in my home place, signs of spring are appearing. Tiny forget-me-not flowers (Myosotis scorpioides) are popping up. Velvety willow buds invite my touch. A brush with nettles causes a stinging sensation that reminds me, "Spring is here! Spring is here!" It's sunny and w
When I had my own preschool classroom, one of the favorite items was the wooden kitchen. It had belonged to my daughter and was so well made that it withstood several years of preschool play. (When my daughter began to plan for a family of her own, I retrieved it from a local Waldorf program. I will be setting it up for my grandson soon!) Most children enjoy cooking with tiny pots and pans, turning the faucet and opening the oven door. I enjoy saving miniature kitchen items,
The children at Emerald Heart Forest School love this nature-based craft. Whether you make this with your child, your students or your own inner nature artist, you will enjoy gathering Mother Nature's treasures and weaving them together. The finished weaving tells a story of place and season. This is a simple and very low cost craft project. Children of any age can participate. Youngest children can help gather while older children can make their own. NEEDED: a long supple tw
During various times of my life, a particular animal has appeared as a messenger and inspiration. On January 1st, I was hoping for an animal to show up. I even tried to 'make one' show up. "There's a squirrel! Is Squirrel my animal??" (Yea, I know!) Then, in through the metaphoric back door came Coyote. It started with hearing coyotes howling at night. I saw their tracks by day. I began to read up on coyotes. Then last weekend, I was asking for guidance and a coyote walked by
Happy Full Moon! One of the names for the January full moon is Wolf Moon. Another is Cold Moon. Typically, the names are based on what is happening in nature during that particular moon cycle. The original people of my home place are Miwoks. I will need to do some gentle research. I am curious what their names are for the full moons. If I were to name this full moon, I might name it the Elephant Seal Moon, because at this time of year, our local beaches are home to breeding E
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