Alternative Learning

Outdoor Programs in the Early Years

Tosh Tipler

Outdoor Early Years' Programs

Forest Schools or Outdoor Preschools are becoming another very popular alternative to indoor early years educational centres. Children spend various amounts of their school day playing and exploring in natural and forested areas. This freedom to play and learn offers children the opportunity to continue learn as they develop their natural curiosity.


Children are continuously challenging their bodies and their minds as they climb trees, move branches and rocks, walk through mud and water, use various tools, build fires, create shelters, along with many other activities. Rain or shine, this does not prevent them from venturing outside. They learn how to dress appropriately for the weather.

Introduction to Forest School
Eastwood Urban Forest School

Online Book Resources

I created an "Outdoor Classroom" tab on our website so that you can have a quick look at our outdoor learning environment. Over the past two years we have greatly increased the amount of time we spend outside. Our program now consists of at least three hours or more a day of outside exploration. Through this type of play, we have all learned a great deal about each other and our environment. We believe that this has also increased our children's sense of self and sense of community, and has continued to spark their curiosity. I did not realize the growing trend of this type of learning in the early years, until I started looking up information last week. It just feels very nature and it is important to us to have the children have a lot of unstructured free play in various outdoor environments. We look forward to exploring new ways in which we can continue to improve our outdoor program.
Stroud School - Forest School