On Monday, May 18, the forest kindergarten class at the Ottauquechee School headed out into the woods, as they have done every Monday all year. And, like all those Mondays before, work in the woods this week reflected the work the children have been doing in the classroom. For our forest kindergarten the woods is not a setting that requires new curriculum, instead it is just a different environment in which to access the already full curriculum load of today’s kindergarten. Students make up word problems, practice their fluency to five, add and subtract to ten, and deconstruct numbers to twenty. On this Monday, students used tens frames, constructed from sticks, to organize their math thinking.
If you are considering taking your students into the woods, don’t be discouraged if you don’t have gimicky outdoor games, or ecology based lessons. What is worth teaching inside, is worth teaching outside…and can likely be more engaging in a natural environment. We hope lessons like Erika Wetzel’s highlighted in this photo and on her class blog, can inspire you to just take your class outside to do the things you already need to do inside. Being a forest classroom doesn’t necessarily mean adding a burden of additional lessons and planning, it can just mean being outside.
And when it’s time for recess…you’re already there!