If you've spent any time recently surveying the educational landscape in this country, you've probably discovered that preschool has become a hyper-structured "school readiness" bootcamp.
We all want our children to succeed, but the reality is that the current system is broken, and children are paying the price.
Excessive rules and limiting lesson plans end up stifling creativity, squashing enthusiasm, and getting in the way of meaningful learning and studies show that forcing rote learning on children who don’t yet understand the value of the skills being taught can actually inhibit intellectual development and lower academic achievement over time.
At Riverside Nature School, we believe children deserve better.
We believe it's time to stop thinking in terms of what our children should be able to achieve (a framework reinforced by years of increasingly rigorous standardized testing) and start thinking in terms of who we want our children to be.
For most of us, the answers are similar. We want them to be kind and compassionate. To be creative thinkers and determined problem solvers. To be confident. To take risks and be resilient. To be stewards of the earth.
The problem is, these skills can’t be taught with worksheets or measured with standardized assessments. If we want our children to be those kinds of people, we need to create stimulating, supportive, and flexible environments in which they feel safe to take risks, motivated to try new things, and empowered to steer their own exploration.
At Riverside Nature School, that's what we do. Our unique approach offers children the chance to engage in deep, meaningful learning, becoming creative problem solvers and life-long learners along the way.
At the heart of our model is a commitment to authentic nature play; to allowing children to simply be in nature. Combined with best practices taken from the Forest School, Coyote Mentoring, and Reggio Emilia models, we have crafted an approach to early learning that allows children to have both a childhood and a quality education.
Benefits of Nature Play
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Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way by Erin K. Kenney
Why Outdoor Schools Make Kids Happier -- and Smarter - YES! Magazine
Risky Play: Why Children Love It and Need It - Psychology Today
Why So Many Kids Can't Sit Still in School Today - The Washington Post