Exploring Nature in our Waldkinder Programme
At ICS, engagement with the outdoor environment is at the heart of our educational experiences.
Schools in Switzerland, a country renowned for its natural beauty, have embraced the outdoors as an essential component of children's education. The special nature of the outdoors in Switzerland offers children opportunities to move on a large scale, to use all their senses, to be active and to express feelings and ideas.
Our Children's Forest Programme
The Waldkinder Programme, a type of outdoor learning, plays a significant role in the Preschool & Kindergarten Centre spearheaded by our teachers who are qualified as Forest School leaders from the Forest Schools Education in Sheffield, UK.
The programme allows our youngest students to take advantage of Switzerland's pristine natural environment and provides opportunities for learning experiences beyond the formal classroom.
Forest Schools mirror many of the values and programmes ICS already maintains.The forest school philosophy intersects with the three cultures at ICS - the Culture of Learning and High Expectations, the Culture of Care, and the Culture of Community Engagement.
How children benefit from outdoor learning
Outdoor activities at our Preschool & Kindergarten Centre provide a range of benefits to our children. Often integrated into units of inquiry, these activities provide a real-world connection between the classroom and the environment.
Children have access to two courtyards just outside of the classrooms as well as a mud kitchen, vegetable patch and pond, all on campus, and a large wood-chipped playground.
Together we spend one morning a week in the forest exploring the natural environment throughout the seasons.
Outdoor experiences also offer our children the opportunity to build skills and confidence as they take part in limited-risk activities suited to their age and physical capabilities. They also provide children with the chance to learn and exercise leadership skills through physical and adventure-based challenges.
At ICS, we believe that learning happens both in and outside of the classroom.