Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Forest Kindergarten

For two years my little girl went to kindergarten in the forest. Not a school in the forest, just the forest. No walls, no roof, no heating, only the forest, a few tools, and incredibly dedicated teachers. In the heat of the summer, in the lashing rain and even in the sub-zero temperatures of the Swiss winter, she would meet her class at the bus stop outside our house and they would trek for twenty minutes into their clearing in the forest, free to indulge in the savagery that is unfettered childhood, no computor, or plastic or chalk board in sight. One day she came home from a day of particularly vicious downpours, her feet inevitably soaked, her eyelashes caked in mud, her cheecks ruddy with the cold and her eyes sparkling with fire, and I said to her it must have been tough being outside all morning in such weather. She looked at me in genuine incomprehension, looked out the window: "What weather?" she asked. An American film director has now made a documentary about our village kindergarten. Here is a preview.
School's Out: Lessons from a Forest Kindergarten from Rona Richter on Vimeo.


  1. 'What weather' - oh to be a child, when sleet, snow and sun was fun-time.

    There are eco-schools appearing in the U.K, but this is totally amazing - so many children do not get to engage with nature around them. School yards are concrete. More of these forest schools, would be wonderful.

  2. Thanks for your comment Shaheen. I couldn't agree with you more.