I went to a little kindergarten in the woods called Acorn Hill, where I didn’t learn to read or write or add numbers, but I played in rainbow silks, with wooden blocks, and in a sandbox which, at the time, was nothing short of colossal. On really special days we were allowed to push the chairs around by the legs, the seat back to the floor - they made great cars.
This past week, right before taking off for 7 months in Germany, I took photos of a kindergarten class not unlike my own - just a little bit more fun. Waldorf in the Woods, aptly named, is a kindergarten class in the woods. The children, clad in waterproof clothing from head to toe, spend their days stomping over the bridge which they built, hiding in the house of sticks which they also built, splashing in the stream that runs through their “classroom”, peeking into holes in trees where creatures live, building homes for fairies, gnomes, and elves (“the size of my pinky finger,” one child explained.) I asked how they know to build such things, and a child responded "well, our teacher is REALLY clever." The children are too, and they expertly navigated the land while I cautiously tried to keep up.
In first grade they’ll learn their letters and arithmetic, but for now they’re children and they are being allowed to take their time as children. I think that's pretty special.
I am so grateful to have been invited into this little class for an afternoon - I'm ready to go back to kindergarten!