Network of Forest Kindergartens and Schools

Since 2012, all Slovenian kindergartens and schools that have incorporated forest pedagogics into their programmes have been united in the Network of Forest Kindergartens and Schools of Slovenia. It is an open network and you are always welcome to join! The only two conditions are that you are used to strolling in nature in the immediate vicinity of your school or kindergarten, and that you enjoy sharing your creative ideas and initiatives with existing and new members. The network currently incorporates kindergartens from Slovenia and Croatia. Interest in the operation of the Slovenian Network of Forest Kindergartens and Schools is growing; the school and preschool teachers involved in the network are actively passing on their diverse knowledge and experiences to their colleagues, and are also motivating those colleagues who still have doubts about such lessons. We estimate that over 5000 Slovenian children are attending forest lessons once a week or more often. So far, more than 4000 teaching staff members from Slovenia and abroad have taken part in our training programmes.

You are invited to join us!

What is a Forest Kindergarten, what is a Forest School?

In a forest school or kindergarten, children regularly visit the nearby forest and natural environments with their preschool or school teachers, taking into account the children’s abilities and their individual characteristics. The teaching staff use and develop various work methods to build knowledge, mostly based on the children’s ideas and experiences.

Forest kindergartens and forest schools refer to more than just the place in which the activities are being held. Being “forest” means deviating from today’s standardised upbringing and teaching of children, and taking into account the natural characteristics and needs of children growing up: movement; looking for challenges which are needed for the neurological system to develop; freedom; free play; building social relationships … “Forest” preschool and school teachers are looking for a way back to nature, to a greater freedom of movement and thought, which we used to know but which has been supplanted by the modern way of life. With an open mind and a bit of resourcefulness, they will easily achieve all the educational goals prescribed by the kindergarten and school curricula.

Schools and kindergartens do more than just incorporate science subject matter into forest lessons – the forest serves as the basic source of ideas and as a classroom for all subjects in the curriculum. Put simply, in the forest we learn mathematics, our mother tongue, and foreign languages; we exercise, draw, write poetry, and create works of art from natural materials. We do not bring any traditional learning aids with us, but instead develop work methods using natural materials found in the forest. In cooperation with forest owners, quite a few schools and kindergartens have “adopted” an area of the forest, which has become their weekly classroom; they have stayed “forest wanderers”, who continue to explore new areas of the forest.

Why should you become a forest kindergarten or forest school? This teaching method brings new opportunities, greater autonomy, lifelong learning, research, discovering the wealth of resources, self-confidence, trust in oneself, creativity and a positive learning climate. All of the above applies to the teaching staff and to the children alike. If you do not have a clear goal for the next school year, the children do. They definitely want to become a forest kindergarten or forest school. Just ask them!