why outdoor education allows children to flourish and thrive.
at Bluestem hall nature school, the prairie is our greatest teacher. We will spend most of the day exploring the property of dedicated outdoor field stations with the native tallgrass as our classroom. we will use our beautiful restored 1963 machine shed to provide opportunities for slowness and down time (as well as to dry mittens, read books, and drink warm tea!)
our goal is to foster rich learning, place-based literacy, and a deep and lifelong sense of belonging to the natural world.
the defining characteristics of a nature school
inquiry- based teaching: using the child's individual curiosities as a stepping stone for their development.
in employing a play-based approach children become masters of their own interests and develop a natural hunger for their own education.
emotional intelligence: empathy for creatures great and small so that each child can develop a sense of connectedness and oneness with their environment, their classmates, and their community.
child-led pace: empowering the students to set their own pace (physically and intellectually), set daily and weekly goals (as simple as identifying a special flower to engineering a hut), and begin the lifelong skill of self reflection and assessment.
non-adult expectations: it is not uncommon for children even as young as 3 and 4 to be burdened with the rigor, organization, and expectations of an adult world. IF GIVEN THE SLOWNESS, THE TIME, AND THE FREEDOM, CHILDREN WILL NATURALLY DEVELOP THEIR OWN GOALS, SYSTEMS, AND EXPECTATIONS AND THOSE WILL BE COMING FROM A PLACE OF INSTICT, CURIOSITY, AND INNOCENCE.
recognizing the benefit of appropriate risk taking: understanding that healthy risk (climbing for example) establishes a sense of body-autonomy, self-confidence, wisdom, good judgement, courage, persistence, and resiliency.
community focused: treating school as a true community as we establish trust and build kinship as a whole.