Since 2003 l have been very fortunate to visit a wide range of early childhood services in Denmark that are based in nature.
In Denmark there is a deep and long held cultural understanding, appreciation of and expectation that children should play in nature regularly.
Early childhood services, well resourced and funded facilities in local parks and forests connect children, families and communities.
Parental leave is generous and guaranteed childcare places are available to families within local neighborhoods.
I have been both challenged and inspired from what l have observed and through interactions and conversations with educators, children and families.
When translating what happens in many Scandinavian countries there are many elements of nature immersion that just can’t be replicated in our environment. One of the most significant and impacting factors is our Australian wildlife and climate.
For many years Australian early childhood services have also known of the benefits children and educators gain when spending time playing in nature. It is very encouraging to see so many early childhood services recognising and embracing this.
A growing industry of training Forest School Leaders, has given confidence to many in the teaching profession, as well as parents and the wider school/local community.
On my long service leave in 2016 l attended Inside out Natures residential course in Viborg, Denmark with Jane Williams-Siegfredsen. Jane gave me great insights into understanding this curriculum approach.
You may have seen this video from SBS ” Kids gone wild ” as these were the services that we visited.
I have been visiting this fabulous local centre in Odder each time l go to Denmark, for over 10 years. Each time l visit l am inspired by their connection to the local forest, their community and for becoming an internationally recognised ‘Green Flag’ School.
My last visit to Denmark was in 2019 and due to the pandemic it may be a little while yet until l return. I look forward to more time spent exploring these amazing spaces then.