January 4, 2018
It’s a brand new year! Our earth is continuing on it’s trip around the sun, and our explorations of the seasons continue as well. One of the first questions we get about Forest School is, “So what do you do during the winter, just go inside?” Apprehensive feelings about going to school outside during the winter are normal and natural! There are some new hazards to mitigate, but also many wonderful learning opportunities!
This question always helps us to consider…..What DO we do during the winter? Why NOT go inside?
Our focus in the fall session was on leaves and animals and the changes they experience seasonally. Throughout Winter session we continue these explorations with a focus on tracking. When looking for animal signs, we can do everything from counting and comparing, drawing, creating, building, to storytelling.
Cold temps provide chances for supportive social learning, and get us moving with games that build our community and forge friendships. Presence of snow and ice present us with new natural materials we can use, new ideas for artistic expression, engineering, and imagination.
But the benefits don’t stop there! In terms of wholeness and wellness we can practice self-care and resilience. Winter weather can help our kiddos learn to overcome unfavorable circumstances and find hidden chances for joy. It teaches them how strong they are and sends the message, “I can depend on my community. I can survive being cold or even miserable.” It can help them strategize and implement ways to help themselves, “do I need more mittens, how about if I put a hat on?”
If the thought of cold, wet, or snowy conditions feels discouraging, you are not alone! Going out in less than favorable weather is daunting, recognize and honor that! It takes preparation and practice but the blessings are well worth it.
Here are some of our parents’ best tips for winter days:
Caroline Griesel holds a Bachelors in Zoology with Entomology focus from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has combined 7 years experience in education, including teaching children's English classes in Japan, and being a Para-professional in public schools. She also spent some time in Ecotourism, researching ecological relationships between ants and sea birds, and guiding kayak tours to the research site. She is currently working on a Level 3 Practitioner Certification from the Forest School Association in the UK. A childhood fishing and combing the beaches of Galveston, Texas inspired her to ensure a lifelong connection to nature and self-discovery through nature are possible for everyone. She is an amateur naturalist and adventurer, who loves curating her collection of rocks and minerals, stargazing, and bushcraft.
What Our Clients Are Saying
“While our boys attended Worldmind Nature Immersion School (WNIS), they have shown significant improvement with their emotional intelligence, mental and physical health, and social competence- among other developmental skills emerged through WNIS ECE program. We believe these elements are breakthrough impacts- foundational prerequisites for success in school, the workplace, and developing future environmental stewards in our nature-deficient society. WNIS ECE program shifts core concepts in early childhood development that forces us as parents into rethinking current health and education policies.”
"Our family across ages has been deeply impacted by WNIS, but the most interesting has been our youngest. She was only 4 months old when we began, and spent much of her first winter bundled up on my back at school, but once she could be down there was no stopping her. She exhibits a level of independence that her two older sisters took much longer to come to. She walked sooner, talked sooner, and is easily content with nothing but the elements to play with. As a whole. my children have moved away from the need for any toys in general, and prefer their imaginations. I believe we are as a family much healthier as well. In one of the worst winter seasons currently, and my kids barely have a sniffle. Including my baby."
“WNIS is the kind of place you can leave your child knowing that they will be empathized with, understood, and empowered - rare but highly valued qualities.”