Forest Schools & Nature-Based Learning
Schools set in a natural environment are not always forest schools. Forest schools share a desire to help "children begin to develop care and concern for the natural world." At Wildflower, students spend 3-4 hours a day on our forest playground, in meadows and pastures. In addition to these outdoor spaces, Wildflower has a dedicated Terrace playground complete with a large sandbox, garden beds, swings and mud kitchens. Next to our Terrace is the Piazza, a 900-square foot space which holds our Makerspace and dining area. The Piazza is an indoor/outdoor space which allows children to be outdoors, yet under the cover of a semi-enclosed area.
The Children's Forest Fort
This freedom to explore and invent their space led the older children to create a forest fort in a nearby group of trees during the 2016/17 school year. This fort began as a small pruned area at the edge of the woods. As the children played and explored there, the vines underfoot became softer and flatter. The children hauled mulch with their wheelbarrows, rolled large logs together and even hung a string of twinkle lights around the branches of an over-hanging tree.
The children were given freedom to investigate this living fort and discovered the richness of the natural world: worms, caterpillars, small berries, unfamiliar leaves and never-ending vines in which to climb.
Freedom to play and investigate the outdoors is essential to a joyful life. Wildflower seeks always to provide that freedom.