Growing Urban Public School KinderGarten
in the Outdoor Classroom 

Did you know that some Kindergartens have school in the forest every
week, or even every day? We are inspired by the forest kindergartens that were born in Europe and have spread to become a worldwide movement.  These vibrant schools conduct themselves outdoors in all seasons and all kinds of weather.  (Watch our Forest Days video to learn more.)

Research shows that children learn best when they are afforded the freedom of movement, choice, and fresh air that the forest can provide. Forest Days helps schools respond to the research by offering meaningful outdoor education as part of the regular school day.

We are excited to grow Forest Days, an outdoor learning program for public school teachers and children. Ours is a two-year approach that provides intensive professional development and direct, weekly outdoor experiences with teachers and children. At the culmination of the two year program, teachers are confident and well-equipped to continue Forest Days on their own as they grow their school's approach to outdoor learning. 

Unlike most American nature or forest preschools that are private programs, Forest Days branches out to a diverse population of children in urban and rural areas alike. We work closely with public school teachers and administrators to craft a weekly outdoor learning program that works with the nuanced needs of the school community.

Visit Instagram to see photos of Forest Days in action and complete an interest form to explore possibilities at your school.

Forest Days Mission
Forest Days provides ongoing nature-based professional development to public school educators through weekly child-directed, outdoor learning experiences with students.

Forest Days Guiding Principles

“Both the forest and the approach, the whole program we are offering, is about freedom in childhood. Children have the right to follow their own interests and explore the world in a safe and dynamic environment.  Children’s movements are so overly controlled in our culture, and this sense of freedom is more and more what’s missing from childhood.”       - Rachel Schwartzman, Forest Days Director

About Forest Days

The pilot program in 2018-2019 was offered at a Title 1 public school in the heart of Philadelphia, serving two kindergarten classes and four teachers. We have since expanded to serve two additional elementary schools in Philadelphia. Our Forest Days Director leads weekly outdoor learning and exploration in the neighboring wild spaces, walking distance from the school. Program includes direct work with teachers and children, documentation of child-led learning, on-going collaboration with staff in support of curricular goals, parent involvement, and supplemental nature-based teacher training. 

A Sustainable Approach

We work closely with partner schools, facilitating a gradual shift in school culture and approaches to learning. As the ERAFANS Forest Day facilitator concludes her work at each school, Forest Days continues as a sustainable program led by trained teachers and viewed as integral to the school community.  

School Partners

We are seeking public school partners to grow Forest Days! Interested? Complete this interest form to see how we can work with you! And keep your eyes out for our new Forest Days Seminar for teachers coming summer 2020. 

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