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kids don’t melt when they get wet

The New York Times recently ran an article on a “Forest Kindergarten” in Saratoga Springs, NY. The children in this program spend three hours outside each day–regardless of weather. The program is part of the Waldorf approach to education–an alternative approach, built on the teachings of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, that emphasizes the connection between art, education, and the natural world.

Forest Kindergarten in Saratoga Springs, NY

When Chris and I first decided to pursue “life learning” with Aidan (life learning is my latest term for our version of homeschooling/unschooling), we looked into the Waldorf method. The connection to nature is a big draw for us. Waldorf, though, like all prescribed methods or approaches to anything, felt a little dogmatic in its pure form, so we moved on in our search. Ultimately, a family has to find what is right for them–whether in some formal alternative or in finding and inventing their own way. Children take care of most of the hard work and play of learning anyway–despite any intervention of parents and teachers. I think sometimes the best we can do is get out of the way.

Anyway, I was pleased to see this article in the Times. Our family firmly believes that everyone spends far too much time indoors and that generally kids are paying the price for such disconnected habits. I know we take to the outdoors whenever we can, whether through our participation in “Fridays in the Forest”, with our nature club, with Earth Scouts, or just hanging out in the garden with the dirt between our toes. (See Tag: Nature) It’s good for kids and all of us to be close to the earth as much as we can.

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