Michele del Castillo
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • United States
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The Forest School of Minnesota
Teaching since 1995, I have developed and taught a Nature Immersion preschool in Minneapolis Minnesota. We are a year around immersion program, though to the amazement of some of my fellow Minnesotans, even through the winter months. I have taught in the Waldorf style for the past 15 years, and still carry much of it into our immersion classroom, As we are now into our 3rd full year of Nature Immersion. It is the best of both created for the benefit of the children. I have been astounded by the wonderful physical, emotional and intellectual responses that are shown and expressed by the children daily. The change into the "Forest/Nature Classroom" came after seeing the need to bring more restorative play & nurturing to my students & to assist the children in cultivating their natural instincts and abilities I began my search/research for a more well rounded educational opportunity . My research brought me to Forest Schooling which made perfect sense in every way. Nature immersion learning has been well practiced and received with much acclaim throughout many European countries for the past six decades. The daily interactions my students have, the deeply contemplated questions that arise, the patience that has been honed, the ability to really see & hear the environment around them has gone beyond my expectation of their responses and has shown me through the children exactly what the research has herald. The natural world is a gift all should receive and we have strayed too far from. I hope for more children to experience Forest Schooling.
As an alternative to childcare, FSMN Nature Immersion educational program is for children 2 to 6 years during the school year & 2 to 10 years during the summer. Our forest/nature classroom provides immeasurable benefits to the children by way of critical thinking and problem solving skills, confidence in their abilities, body and cognitive, and a more acute and accurate ability to listen, to recall and follow instructions. The sky is our roof and the trees are our walls. The children learn in a manner of fluid discovery and exploration that bring them beyond the limits of a walled environment, bringing deeper and wider thought and questions to their learning, providing a very empowering educational experience. This is a very beautiful way of preparing a young child for the educational years ahead.
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At 6:37am on November 5, 2011, Suz Lipman said…

Hi Michele, Warm welcome to C&NN Connect. I'm glad you found us and started a group. Your school and work sound extremely special and I hope we'll hear your voice in some other groups and discussions as you make yourself at home here. Our Early Childhood Resources group and our Natural Teachers Network will probably interest you, among others.

I hope you'll share your activities, ideas and photos with us and find this a rich source of resources. For any questions about the network, see our FAQ page. Hope to see you here again soon. Cheers!


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