Preparing children for a world of possibilities, no matter what the weather!
The Wild Woods is committed to nurturing children's cognitive, social, emotional, and sensory development, as well as their physical and mental well being by immersing them in nature at an early age. The key component of this approach is unstructured free time in nature, which lays the foundation for a meaningful, life-long relationship to the natural world. This unstructured free time also provides the ideal opportunity to learn how to form healthy collaborative relationships with others.
At The Wild Woods, we use a child-driven flow learning emergent curriculum that evolves with each child's interests as the seasons change. By allowing children unstructured free time to become fully engaged in the world around them, they can develop their observation skills by watching nature's changes take place, while at the same time enriching their imaginations and creativity. Our teachers are committed to using an inquiry based teaching style to foster the innate sense of curiosity, while also laying the foundation for more divergent thinking and better problem solving skills.
It is our belief that in today's fast paced and hyper-stimulating world, children need a chance to slow down and develop at nature's natural pace. Learn, grow, and BE a child in nature at The Wild Woods!
What is a Forest Kindergarten?
You may be asking yourself, “What in the world is a forest kindergarten?” Well, the appropriate way of answering this question is by telling you what The Wild Woods is not. First, The Wild Woods is never inside. Our classroom is located on 4+ acres of woods behind Jewart's Gymnastics. This unique setting allows the children to explore every day and learn while doing so, no matter what the weather. They are able to watch the subtle changes that occur in nature throughout the seasons, from the first buds of spring, to the lush tree top canopy of summer, to the last leaves of fall falling to the ground, to the stillness of winter, and all over again. As adults, we take this natural activity for granted, but to a child these are magical transitions that create a sense of awe and wonder. The children also have the chance to observe those many subtle changes that occur from one day to another. And through the use of leading questions by the teachers, the children are able to hone their understanding of the scientific process. Each day’s exciting adventures begin as we cross the bridge by the retaining pond and descend into our classroom, making observations all along the way.
Secondly, The Wild Woods is not a teacher idea driven program with a set agenda or curriculum for each day. The idea behind this decision is that children are inherently intelligent and curious beings. By allowing them to choose what they want to do, they can participate in activities that pique their interest. This allows the children a chance to learn and grow in a comfortable setting at their own pace. Instead of telling the children what to do, the teacher serves the role of a guide, helping the children dig deeper into their thoughts and imaginations to create their own world and their own knowledge. This also allows each student to become the teacher, sharing their knowledge with the other children, which helps them grow and teaches each child the importance of helping one another.
Lastly, The Wild Woods is not a place with toys and gadgets with fixed parts that predetermine their uses. It is our belief that by removing toys besides the mud kitchen box and a few musical instruments, the children are left with only “toys” with loose parts. They are actually left with just sticks, stones, leaves and mud. These four items can be turned into whatever the child sees fit. With all the media children are exposed to in todays world, the chance to step away from the screen, the children can be creative and begin to create the foundation for higher-level problem solving skills later in life.