One of the things I worried about most – and continue to worry about – after our departure from Denmark, is that I wouldn’t be able to give both of my children the same outdoor preschool experience.
I came to the forest school experience a bit of a skeptic but I’m a convert for life, that’s for sure. And I have been trying to think about how to give my son the same experience. He is two now, and I’m starting to think of what’s ahead. How do we give him the experience that is equal parts adventure and independence that was so ingrained in Danish forest schools? There are a handful of forest schools here in the US of course, but they are hard to find, they’re far out-of-town and well, they’re quite expensive.
But I have to remind myself that while the actual forest is a big part of forest school, it is not at all the only part of it. There is also fresh air, and unstructured time, and comfort in the elements, and the ability to get a little dirty without enduring a lot of adverse reactions. I don’t know what will be next for him exactly, but I do know that we can work in many of those other elements.
Even just this weekend, we took care of an unseasonably warm spot of sunshine and walked across the street to the park. I’ve been working a lot lately, so I don’t see the children right now as much in the morning or in the afternoon, and it was so lovely just to not be in a hurry for once. My son is just now growing more into playgrounds, wanting to do everything like his big sister. And even though the playground by our house isn’t huge, it’s almost Danish to some degree with sand being the main component and lots of communal toys lying around for neighborhood kids to enjoy. Those toys might be a little worn, but mostly they are well-loved. Once he picked up a shovel and a bucket and got lost in his own focus for nearly half an hour, doing nothing more than exploring how sand flows out of the shovel and into his containers, well, that’s when I knew, that while it might not be the Danish experience exactly, he was still going to be drawn to the same experiences as his sister, just in his own way.