One of the great things about the forest school experience, beyond just the forest school itself, has been getting to know and build a community of parents, who as it turns out, share many of the same ideas. Through this blog, we’ve been able to meet and correspond with a lot of parents – some just curious as to how the whole forest school thing works, some wanting to know how to actually get into such a school, some seeking to incorporate more outdoor time into their own daily routines with kids when forest schools are not possible. Some parents have been committed to this for years, but some have been like me, realizing that forest schools and the like are not really just “for hippies” but that real time outside spent learning and exploring is something that we want our children to have.
That’s how we met Amie and Daniel Stilling, the film makers and producers behind Nature Play, a movie about the Scandinavian model of “udskole“, or schooling outside. Forest schools like ours fall into this realm, but as the movie explores, so do regular schools and preschools and high schools. Being outside is just a thing here – a good thing at that.
The movie is in its final stages (there’s even an Indiegogo campaign to help secure the funds for the final push – be sure to check out their page!) but when Amie and Daniel came to Copenhagen just a few weeks ago, we were able to get a special sneak preview of the film when we hosted a little get together with fellow parents. (and yes, of course we had “worms in dirt” as a dessert? how could we not at a forest school party? And of course Danish strawberries, Danish tomatoes, Danish pork, Danish potatoes…all those good Danish things all on the menu!)
You know how sometimes people say that they don’t appreciate what they’ve had all along? We knew the forest school was a good thing we had going on here but there was something about seeing it all pulled together in all of this beautiful footage – shot in brand new 4K technology which basically makes you feel like you can step into the screen and practically touch any of the outdoor elements. It just made me realize how lucky we were to have some of this outdoor experience for our daughter.
The movie also brings in a big of contrast about what’s been going on with testing in the US, which if I’m honest, I had/have no idea about but it seems to be becoming quite a critical issue for parents and educators. My point of reference for elementary or other schools is what I remember from when I was in them myself. I can’t say I’m educated enough to comment about what we’ll find when we eventually return to the US, but the film definitely started to make me think about what we want to for our children in their education experience as a whole.
You can follow the film’s journey and updates about releases and locations here on the Nature Play Facebook page – here’s a preview for the small screen but if you’re at all passionate or curious about what a little more outside could do for our children inside, definitely don’t miss it on the big screen!