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The Brooklyn Forest School: A New School in the Park

July 27, 2012

Brooklyn Forest School. Photo by ©Matt Peccini

Imagine a new kind of school day for your urban kid: making mud pies, stirring sticks in the pond, racing across a meadow and digging for worms….in the city. It’s actually possible and happening in west Brooklyn. Last year, a group of like-minded parents got together with the common interest in creating an outdoor classroom in Prospect Park and created a small, Waldorf inspired school that is taking off.

The Brooklyn Forest School, a parent-child class and nursery program that takes place entirely outdoors in Prospect Park, started last fall as a once-a-week class for several families from The Brooklyn Waldorf School and grew by word of mouth, adding five classes with 50 more families from all over Brooklyn. This fall, they are preparing to enroll over 100 parent-child families along with the drop-off nursery.

Brooklyn Forest School. Photo by ©Matt Peccini

Forest schools are familiar to Europeans and the Brits who “developed and adapted from the original concept implemented in Sweden in the 1950’s and developed throughout other Scandinavian and European Countries. It is becoming increasingly recognised that this ‘outdoor’ approach to play and learning can have a huge impact on the normal development of children.” (from ForestSchools.com)

The 2 hours long classes at The Brooklyn Forest School are  play-based and Waldorf inspired and each class they have a picnic of tea, apples and homemade bread. They go on nature walks, explore the outdoors and gather together for circle time. The children are in a mixed-aged group and most of them are between fifteen months and four years old.

Hand washing at Brooklyn Forest School. Photo by ©Matt Peccini

School is open even when it rains: they just relocate to the park’s bandstands and pavilions and switch to hot tea to warm the little bodies up!

Registration for the Fall Season of forest school is open. Classes meet once a week on weekday mornings. You can choose to attend class from 9:00 until 11:00 or from 11:30 to 1:30 in the afternoon.

The season begins on September 10, 2012 and ends on February 1, 2013. Each class runs for eighteen weeks and costs $497.79