When the school moves to the forest, education becomes play and joy

When the school moves to the forest, education becomes play and joy. Otherwise the “School of Joy”

This year, together with the toddlers, we set up our classroom in the forest. We are there for most of the program from the beginning of the day until the children leave.

The entire program that promotes the all-round development of the child was set up based on our life in the forest. We secured and found solutions for our daily needs (where to eat, where to go to the toilet, how to clean our hands). We became explorers of the forest, doing research and learning about it in it.

All this time I observe the children through free – unstructured play in the forest on a daily basis. I am surprised!!!

At first I carried various toys with me for the children to play in the forest. I was thinking how much to climb and how much to run??? But the children rarely used the toys I carried in their free play. No kid came to tell me what are we going to do now? We are bored or tired…

Playing with them really made me realize (I didn’t find out because I knew) that kids don’t need to have a lot in the woods. They ONLY need their imaginations… and that’s where they get to use their creativity and get into the process of solving problems. Σε ένα περιβάλλον που ‘δεν έχει παιχνίδια ‘ και δεν είναι οργανωμένο, τα παιδιά φτιάχνουν τα πιο φανταστικά, κοινωνικά και συμβολικά παιχνίδια… χρησιμοποιώντας ότι υπάρχει γύρω τους… Οργανώνουν το περιβάλλον και αυτοοργανώνονται. They work in teams, exchange ideas, decide what they want to play, collaborate to set up their game, share and negotiate, manage conflict, take roles. They try – fail and try again. They create symbolic games, they make hypothetical scenarios. By themselves!!!

Stones, reeds, wood, pallets, wheels, logs and sails they use to build their house or headquarters, restaurant and pot shop, forest store, soccer goals and much more. Twigs, pine cones, leaves, acorns and whatever else they find are their tools. At the same time they run, carry, crawl and climb strengthening their bodies. Of course the primary purpose of the game, pleasure.

And the pleasure has no end, the game would never end if it were up to them. After a long time of playing you call them because it’s time to eat… Madam we didn’t play long…

Sophia Fakiridou-teacher at the School of Nature

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