We are an educational project based on the template of a forest kindergarden. The project is dedicated to children of kindergarten age (3-6 years old), but it is not a kindergarden in a formal sense (which is why we are going to refer to it as ‘group’).
The group formed in autumn 2015 and has been operating since then, each year inviting children to join the adventure.
Our main goal and mission is to provide children with care in nature. In our group, children spend 4 to 8 hours per day in a forest, rain or shine. They play freely, observe and explore nature and build conscious relationships both with each other and their surroundings.
We are located in Kabaty, Warsaw.
MORE ABOUT US
We are a team of 6 educators: Aga, Marcin, Mateusz, Edyta, Ewa and Danusia. A team of positive, genuine adults, happy to share our passions with children and show them the diversity of the world. Our paramount goal, however, is to form close, safe relationships with our children. Every day, we try to be the supportive and conscious adults that children need as their role models. In our work, we apply the principles of Non-Violent Communication (NVC), humanistic psychology and democratic education.
Our group is based on the template of a forest kindergarden, which means our children spend, on average, 80% of their time outdoors (depending on the time of year and the weather). Thanks to the amount of time they spend outdoors in the fresh air, they have a unique opportunity to build close, deep and personal relationships with nature and develop their own intelligence and knowledge about nature.
The core value and main focus of what we do is free play (although there is a time and a place for activities organised by adults too). At our group, children set their own goals and achieve them independently, and the purpose of the adults is to support the children in discovering the world and learning. This approach, together with the large amount of time the children spend in nature, form the basis for the harmonious development of the child, in accordance with his/her own rhythm and tempo.
We currently have two locations. In the morning, we meet at our city-based centre in the Kabaty district of Warsaw. In the winter, that is also where we finish the day. The rest of the day we spend at our field base on the outskirts of Kabaty forest or trekking around the forest.
At our field base, you can see our children playing in the mud kitchen, doing woodwork at the workbench, painting at our forest easel, swinging on the hammocks between the trees or on our forest swings. Among other things, we have a fire ring and a gazebo. On cold days, fire provides us with warmth, while it also brightens up the afternoons as dusk falls. On rainy days, we can find shelter in the gazebo. This autumn, we prepared a permaculture garden so that we can plant a vegetable patch in the spring. We are also planning to build a tree house.
From time to time, we also use urban areas - we visit various exhibitions and parks, take part in concerts and workshops.
THE RHYTHM OF THE GROUP
Rhythm and repetitiveness are the key elements in the development of young children. They create anchors, key points during the day which build up their feeling of security and stability, and also play a crucial role in the adaption process. In our group, we work according to three rhythms – daily, weekly and yearly.
The one that is most noticeable for children is the daily rhythm. This does not mean, however, that every day is the same. On the contrary, each day is different. But they are linked by a few repetitive elements, which occur every day and act as signposts for small children:
– The group opens at 8 am at our city-based centre. This is a time for free play, a chance to start the day without rush, to do some reading and to prepare for the day in the forest.
– At 9/9.30 am, we head out to our field base on the outskirts of Kabaty forest. This early-morning, twenty-minute walk is a chance to sing together and observe nature.
– At around 10 am we sit down together for the circle. Here, we welcome each other and talk about what has happened since the last meeting. This common ritual at the start of the day strengthens each and every child, giving them a clear signal: we are happy that you’re here with us, you are important and we are interested in what you want to tell us. We discuss the plan of the day, propose activities within the framework of the weekly rhythm, and listen to the needs of the group.
– After second breakfast (around 11:30 am), children are offered to join activities in line with the weekly rhythm. We spend around 2 hours together, allowing children to join in at their own pace, according to their desire and ability.
– The period after lunch (after 2 pm) is a time for relaxation and free play.
– At 4 pm we return to our centre and await the arrival of the parents (the group is open until 4.30 pm).
We also have a weekly rhythm, which means that every day has its own overriding theme, as follows:
– Monday is the day for artistic projects
– Tuesday is the day for trips – the older children (5+) go on a bike ride, while the younger ones take a trip deeper into the forest
– Wednesday is the day for cooking and baking together
– Thursday is the day for signing and playing music
– Friday is the day for woodwork projects
During the year, we experience changing of the seasons, observe nature and its rhythm. Also, we include some traditions of the region and Slavic pagan festivals into our yearly rhythm.
Babysitting and creative play
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
1. You'll get to know the principles of a forest kindergarden, Non-Violent Communication (NVC) and democratic education.
2. You'll learn from experienced educators.
3. You'll learn positive, empathic ways of communicating with children.
4. You'll learn about child development.
5. You'll learn to look beyond children's behaviour, to understand their needs and emotions.
6. Being around children is likely to make you more aware of your own needs and emotions.
7. You'll get to know the difference between self-control and self-regulation and why it is the latter that we try to nourish in our children.
8. You'll see firsthand how beneficial it is for children to play freely in nature.
And mooore. We don't know of a better way to grow as a person than accompanying children in their growth 🙂
Our centre is ten minutes' walk from Kabaty underground station, so you'll be able to explore Warsaw easily.
We are looking for a native or fluent English speaker to provide us with help in childcare. For a warm, empathic adult who remembers how it feels to be a child and enjoys being around children. Someone to assist our team and play with our children.
Every day, there are 3 of us for a group of 20 children. We would like you to be the 4th adult in the group 3 days a week (for the remaining 2 days we are joined by Alan - an English native speaker living in Warsaw).
On those 2 days that you're not in the group, you might be asked for some help by the family you're going to stay with.
We invite you to stay with one of our children's families where you'll be provided with your room and access to other rooms including a toilet and/or a bathroom and a kitchen.
The family is going to provide you with food and/or share their meals with you. Also, when you're in the group, you'll be offered our catering.
We're going to contact you with the family before you arrive.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
5 hours a day, at least 3 days a week
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