Our first day at Outdoor PreschoolFebruary 1, 2016
I’m an outdoors person. I’m a mum. Therefore I’m an outdoorsy mum.
That doesn’t mean I automatically thought it was a good idea to send my children to all these outdoor schools popping up. In fact I thought it wasn’t such a good idea. I had a few excuses, the most prominent was that non-outdoorsy people send their kids to these school to get them outdoors when the parents didn’t want to take them outside themselves. I also had safety concerns, there are no fences, what if my kid runs off or gets lost? Finally while it seems like a great idea in summer when we’re signing up for school the reality of our pacific northwest winters is a lot of rain.
I read the websites of the outdoors schools but I didn’t sign up my daughter. I didn’t even contact the teachers with questions. I didn’t think it was the right choice.
Today was our first day of outdoor forest preschool. We ended up here by accident. First I signed up for a co-op preschool. Molly enjoyed it a lot but I couldn’t take all the work involved. As I work full time I am selfish about my time with my kids. I didn’t see monthly meetings, bake sales and cleaning days as benefitting my kids. I saw it as me taking more time away from my kids. Next we signed up for a home-based Waldorf preschool. It sounded wonderful to me, but Molly didn’t like it. Since I was never invited to spend a day in the class I can only guess at the reason. I speculate one of the biggest problems for Molly was that the teacher provided the food, but it wasn’t what Molly wanted to eat. Then there was an incident with a neighbouring dog attacking a dog belonging to a preschool family in front of all the kids. Then she didn’t want to go anymore.
We found one space opening up at Little Red Preschool, located in an original old school house. It’s a small space, with outhouses and a wood stove, but Molly is enjoying it. After two days at Little Red the teacher “recommended” her for the Forest Program. She said she saw how comfortable Molly was outside and thought it was a good fit. So here we are, not an active decision but because I was flattered that she was recommended.
And how did it go? It was amazing. Our first day was in January in the heavy rain. The teacher was great with the kids. And after a snack under the tarp the kids busied themselves with free play. As I watched them sitting in the rain going about their usual play and not even noticing the rain I realized my bias had been all wrong. Dressed warmly and in rain clothes they saw no reason not to play in the rain.
They made mud pies, played hide and seek, painted and explored. And starting in January at least we know the weather is only going to get better!