Forest school: the living classrooms that contain vast information, tools, and lessons in entrepreneurship and sustainability.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT A FOREST SCHOOL IS?
A school where the entire forest is a classroom. Its ecological process as a habitat is the main source of knowledge. Its system is studied and used as an example to teach. What is attempted is to influence local education to promote the conservation of forests and at the same time promote respect, autonomy, creativity and conflict resolution. “It is a space of sensory stimulation for all ages, which promotes emotional, perceptual and cognitive development outdoors.”
In Ecuador, at the beginning of 2017 the Chocó School Forest Network was created, which includes 8 forest schools with more than 10 years of experience working with students. The Commonwealth of Chocó Andino (MCA) is one of the most biodiverse territories in the world: the flora and fauna that make up its system and the practices that have maintained it are the perfect educational material to contribute to the development and training of children and young people and adults.
The teaching method is based on direct experience: you learn with all five senses, you witness plants and animals’ life cycles, you connect with the classroom to understand, through its processes, respect for life, space, people. The idea is to “live to learn.”
Through this connection with the environment, students are instructed on the territory in which they live, understand and learn to take care of it, as well as to take from it what is necessary to survive: to undertake, to investigate, to enjoy and have fun. When students understand what they have around and how it works, it gives both children and adults a sense of value and appreciation and it is in this way that they understand the importance of conserving these resources and areas. In the forest, awareness is sought in addition to educating, something that is lacking in the classes of the current education system.
At the moment, Ecuador leads the initiative of the Forest Schools Network (together with Puerto Rico and Peru) in Latin America with 8 schools in its network. This model of education is supported by educational programs that are based on the sciences of nature and society, the arts, the development of human consciousness, and the transcendence of life.
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