Outside Kids Forest Kindergarten is an ocean forest kindergarten. Our program is held entirely outdoors, in our unique barrier island ecosystem that includes forest, marsh, wetlands, dunes and our beautiful Atlantic Ocean beach. Our classes will field trip every day to Hanna Park, Dutton Island or Fort Caroline. Forest Kindergarten is play-based and children are able to develop their skills and habits over time and at their own pace. Children naturally become self-motivated, cooperative, respectful, grateful, and aware of their impact on the earth. They get the opportunity to experience outdoor adventures in all weather conditions. Our Forest Kindergarten is made as safe as is reasonably possible, to facilitate children’s risk-taking abilities. Our low student to teacher ratio is maintained with this in mind.It is a complete nature immersion class that helps to build a child’s sense of place in the world.
Research strongly supports the idea that young children, particularly ages 2-6, learn best through direct experiences with the world around them. Being outdoors provides them with not only fresh air, but it also encourages imaginative play, creativity, coordination and balance, physical strength and mental clarity. By kindling their innate sense of wonder about nature, we can help children learn basic environmental and natural science principles, as well as respect for all living things. Lessons flow organically from the natural rhythms of the seasons and from the children’s daily discoveries. There are no set lesson plans: each day is shaped by the animals, insects, birds, amphibians, plants, tides and weather that we emcounter, providing spontaneous moments of inquiry,wonder and joy!
Young children are held by natural rhythms; from the breathing, waking and sleeping of their own bodies, to the sounds that greet them throughout the day, to the yearly cycles of the seasons and especially in Florida the ebb and flow of the tides. Children thrive when their daily activities are arranged to reflect this natural order in life.
The LifeWays and Waldorf approach to early childhood education emphasizes a strong sense of rhythm. Each day our activities acknowledge seasonal changes and celebrates the joy of early childhood.