As I research how to begin a drop-off preschool in the weather-prone Northwest-I ponder "what do I want these children to learn at this school?" As a recent graduate of the University of Washington's teaching program I learned alot about how to excite children and get them motivated. Yet when I got into the public school classroom I found the automated schedule of school wasn't what I was interested in pursuing. I like the freedom that nature and outdoor experiences affords. So that makes me want to start an outdoor preschool in my area.
How would this work you might ask? Well-the kids would arrive dressed in weather-proof clothing such as waterproof pants and boots and a layers on top-fleece perhaps or wool sweathers and a water proof jacket. Gloves and hats included for much of the year. But as soon as the children (and I) are well dressed for the weather, we can have such fun outdoors! We can build forts and create "art work" to hang in our forts. We can have outdoor tea parties and make art projects from the forest floor. We can research birds-using binoculars and a bird book. We can create a map and then follow it.
These children would be learning about what books can teach them, how to follow maps and math using nature as their guide. All without being told to "sit down now" and "stay still".
Stay tuned for more inspiration-and I would love to hear any input from you!