Chelsea Lada attends Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training
CBEEN supported Chelsea Lada from New Denver in attending the Forest Kindergarten Teacher Training and Certification at the Cedarsong Nature Kindergarten. The Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten is located on Vashon Island near Seattle. It is an entirely outdoor program for children 2-6 years old that runs year-round. The teacher training was four days long and consisted of observation of the teachers and children at the forest kindergarten, a brief practicum opportunity and lots of collaboration time.
“We discussed and witnessed the added values of outdoor play for young children – from motor skill development in berry picking and climbing to emotional self-regulation in having the space to be alone when needed. Teachers clearly laid out the boundaries for risky play including rules for climbing, playing with sticks, playing in water, and children communicating their whereabouts in the space using the animal sound they had chosen for themselves. The children were then completely free to engage in unstructured, risky play within these very clear boundaries. Teachers stepped away when they were not needed, giving the children space to be independent, but observed carefully for moments where they could step back in with guiding questions. Their open-ended questions followed the children’s curiosity, guided their sensory exploration of their surroundings, extended their thinking, facilitated empathy building with living things and helped children make personal connections with nature. The same questioning techniques were used to extend children’s thinking around social-emotional learning including conflict resolution and leadership skills. Teachers documented the emergent curriculum by sitting down with the children at snack time and asking them what they learned or noticed that day. They recorded the children’s own words and later compiled the themes and learning into a newsletter for families.”
Here are a few resources she would reccomend for CBEEN members:
- Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way by Erin Kenny, http://cedarsongnatureschool.
- Balanced and Barefoot by Angela J. Hanscom, https://www.newharbinger.com/