Richard Louv on Raising your kids outside – Why it matters.

“The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.”

We sometimes get asked why our programs are held outside, rain or shine. The answer is quite simple – magical things happen for our children and their parents when we reconnect with nature. Here we list some benefits, but to dig deeper check out one of our major inspirations- Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.
  • combats nature-deficit disorder
  • reduces screen time
  • boosts creativity
  • promotes health and wellness
  • increases confidence
  • builds social skills
  • promotes love and respect  for nature

Forest Kindergarten in the U.S.

In 2006 Erin Kenny, had a vision of an entirely outdoor preschool, one in which there was no indoor space, where the lessons arose organically as we moved through the natural world, connecting children with nature, in an outdoor hands-on environmental learning model. During the spring of 2008, Cedarsong Nature School was created, the first U.S Forest Kindergarten, an entirely-outdoor preschool on Vashon Island, WA, based on the German forest school model.

Friedrich Frobel, a German educator, coined the word “kindergarten” (children’s gardens) and opened the world’s first outdoor kindergarten more than 150 years ago with the belief that young children learn best when playing in nature, away from an emphasis on too many numbers and letters. Today, Germany has several of hundreds of these Waldkindergartens, or “forest kindergartens”, in which children spend their entire class time outdoors year-round.

At Miami Nature Playschool we have taken the Forest Kindergarten model and added our own unique flavor. Facilitators at our program support each child’s nature discovery, modeling excitement for the wonders of life and guiding parents to identify teachable moments with their children; by capturing the learning of the group on a nature’s journal, design by Erin Kenny and based of her decade of experience.