Unique Schools: Forest School means kids spend the entire class day outside

Weather doesn’t matter at Forest School. They are outside in the snow, rain, cold and sunshine.

Kids make crafts using wood from the forest.
Kids make crafts using wood from the forest. (WSLS 10)

HUDDLESTON, Va. – As technology takes over our lives, parents are looking at ways to get their kids back outside playing and using their imagination. A unique school model is becoming more popular.

At ONE Forest School in Huddleston, kids are climbing hills and playing in the creek.

“I’m not scared,” said a 4-year-old as she was splashing in the chilly February water.

The entire school day is outside on eight acres of land. These schools are a growing trend across the country.

“It’s not what she’s learning, I think it’s how she’s learning. I think it’s shaping her to teach her how to think rather than what to think,” said Eric Theimer, who has a daughter at the school.

Ava is the youngest of this group, starting when she was 2-years-old.

“The biggest thing I’ve noticed is she’s definitely much more respectful of not only things in the environment, the animals, the plants but also just she learns her limitations much quicker, boundaries,” said Danielle Bird, Ava’s mom. “But also testing her boundaries. She’ll go out on that proverbial limb and do things that other kids are sitting there saying, ‘Maybe that’s not quite what I want to do yet’.”

Kids have to be walking, about 18 months to start at ONE Forest School. The children range in age and that’s on purpose. They want the kids to be able to interact with a variety of ages and animals just like they would see in a community.


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