Originally published in the Floyd Press.
Starting this Fall, Blue Mountain School will offer a Forest Kindergarten class on Friday mornings from 9:00 to noon for children 4 to 6 years old. The class will be led by BMS early childhood co-teacher, Jenni Heartway, who taught at a daily forest kindergarten school in North Carolina before joining BMS four years ago.
“Based on the German model of Waldkindergartens, forest kindergarten programs are becoming more and more popular across the country,” said Ms. Heartway. She continued, “Some people ask me if we really stay outside in rain or snow, and the answer is yes! We will spend the entire morning outdoors in all types of weather.”
The goal of this educational model is to provide young children with the opportunity to explore and engage with the outdoors and others. Following a play-based and emergent learning approach, the program strives to give students a predictable rhythm that allows them to be comfortable and empowered while providing enough flexibility to pursue individual interests.
During a typical day at BMS Forest Kindergarten, children will arrive and settle in with a few small group activities. After a morning circle, which includes songs, instruments, and a discussion about the day’s plans, the group will pack up and hit the trail. The majority of the day will be spent in the woods surrounding BMS. Shortly before parents arrive, students will gather for a closing circle where friends can reflect on the day’s activities.
The first fall session is from September 9 through October 7, and the second fall session is October 21 through November 18. The cost of the program is $125 for one session, or $200 for both sessions. Registration forms are available on the school’s website or in the school’s office. For more information, call 540-745-4234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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