Forest Kindergarten, Forest School (Gozdni vrtec, gozdna šola)

Since 2012, Slovenian kindergartens and schools that include forest pedagogy in their program have been socializing in the Network of Forest Kindergartens and Schools of Slovenia. Schools and kindergartens, which regularly carry out the educational process in the forest, are noticing great progress in individual areas of children’s development.

In a forest school or kindergarten, children, together with educators and teachers, regularly visit the nearby forest and natural environments. Forest kindergartens and forest schools do not only refer to the area where the activities take place. Being “forest” means deviating from today’s standardized education and teaching of children and taking into account the natural characteristics and needs of growing children: movement, finding challenges necessary for the development of the neurological system, freedom, free play, building social relationships… “Forest” educators and teachers they are looking for a way back to nature, to greater freedom of movement and thought, which we once knew, but which has been supplanted by the modern way of life. With an open mind and with some ingenuity, they will easily achieve the educational goals that follow the curriculum for kindergartens and schools.

Teaching in natural environments in the immediate vicinity of kindergartens and schools is more than suitable for the integrated development of children, schools and kindergartens and the entire local community. Forest classrooms and outdoor teaching offer us enough space for academic knowledge, development of social skills, experience, cooperation and personal commitment to work, curiosity, imagination and spontaneous individual initiatives. Our immediate natural environment should become a place where we can develop an identity, a sense of space and at the same time enjoy the space and, of course, return to it again and again.