Tag Archives: global parenting

Forest kindergarten

Imagine being at a school where you look up and see, not a ceiling, but a canopy of leaves and branches high above you.


Or being told you can shout all you want – just shout out into the forest. Where you can climb trees, use a saw or pocket knife to cut wood, fashion your own seesaw out of a rope and logs, and watch the lifecycle of bugs and birds in real time.

That's what it's like for children at a "forest kindergarten," where I spent a serene morning one day last week when I visited Germany. 


The way into the forest was magical, with birds singing everywhere. The trees were high, stately, and utterly humbling. I really felt as though there is practically no better way to spend your days as a child than this. 


I was in Europe because I got a book deal (hence the recent silence on this blog – I have been busy!) to write a book about parenting around the world. I went to Germany and also visited Finland, where I met friends, spoke with children of all ages, and was able to speak at length with many teachers. I also enjoyed the food (berries! bread! porridge!) and the beautiful Nordic summer sunlight.


Visiting schools gave me a fresh perspective on how different children live all around the world. For instance, the primary school students I spoke with in Finland told me that they have only four hours of school on Fridays, and that they get a LOT of recess.

I enjoyed seeing the children's artwork as well. Below are a few pictures of primary school art from the schools I visited in both Germany and Finland. I love the birch tree representations below – they bring back memories of the beautiful birches I saw in Finland. 



I took my two little girls with me on this trip, and while my schedule was really busy, we had time to take long walks.



If you have something to share about what life is like for parents and children where you live, let me know via email or a comment – I'd really love to hear from you!