The Forest School Way: Approaching Education & Child-Care in a Post-COVID World
Updated: 4 days ago
Play-based outdoor learning benefits the whole child, and the whole community.
-Kathryn Long, FSF Founder & Education Director
In the past few months, the forest school model has made international headlines in major news publications, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, Vogue and countless others. For good reason, of course - outdoor spaces have been proven to reduce the infection and spread of the novel coronavirus. There is even evidence that vitamin D (sunlight) can boost immunity against the virus. When safety and science is coupled with the urgent demand for accessible, affordable childcare, then outdoor learning becomes a no-brainer for many families.
Several weeks ago, the CDC released their guidelines for the re-opening of schools and child-care centers. To many community leaders, educators and families, these regulations seem unrealistic or even impossible to implement, leading many to question whether or not the strict new standards imposed on the already over-structured traditional classroom environment could be detrimental to their child's mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
With millions of parents now working from home, their increased flexibility and their first-hand experience with remote learning has encouraged more people to explore alternative educational models like homeschooling, un-schooling, road-schooling, wild-schooling earth-schooling - or a hybrid of multiple curriculum styles together. We anticipate that non-traditional education will continue to gain momentum in our post-pandemic reality. The time for forest schools is here, and we're ready. We've been ready!
Ultimately we need our children's education to be safe (outdoors), simple (play-based), easy (unstructured) and effective (whole-child). THAT is #TheForestSchoolWay. Pandemic or not, there are countless proven benefits to children's development in the outdoors and nature-based spaces. Indeed, the decades of research speaks for itself!
To wrap up, here are (more than) a few of our favorite articles that we've seen discussing the importance of outdoor education amidst the unprecedented coronacrisis:
Curious about the origins of the forest school movement and want to learn more? Read this.