Nature-based and Forest School education is proving to be a popular choice for families at the moment with many schools and companies offering unique programs outside and in the wild. There are plenty of options for tots, kids, and teens looking to learn…the natural way!
The focus of learning at a Forest School is on inspiring all learners with hands-on experiences in a natural environment with trees – hence the term nature school. The curriculum is learner-centered and aims to promote the holistic development of all those involved, fostering resilient, confident, independent, and creative learners.
Topics are cross-curriculum using nature, plants, and animals to teach more abstract topics like math and communications. They place a high value on teamwork and problem-solving. Check out the Little Steps Guide to find out which schools and after-school companies are offering nature-based learning in Hong Kong.
More and more schools are offering The Forest School Program highlighting the demand by parents for kids to explore their environment more - and get out of the classroom and explore with nature. A list of schools offering The Forest School is below!
Leapfrog Kindergarten is based at the heart of Sai Kung country park and makes the most out of its lush location. It is the only registered kindergarten in Hong Kong that has a Forest School Program in Early Years! Teaching is enriched through the Forest School Program and bilingual classes (English and Mandarin) and is based on the British Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. The kindergarten delivers its EYFS curriculum and Forest School program in a fun, creative, engaging way in their forest, playground, terrace garden, mud kitchens, and other stimulating outdoor areas.
Mulberry House International Kindergarten:
Mulberry House International Kindergarten offers Forrest School as part of their regular program as they firmly believe that it provides their students with opportunities to develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a natural environment. Students will have the chance to explore and experience the natural world through practical activities which helps promote confidence, self-esteem, independence, and resilience. Outdoor learning develops knowledge and skills in ways that add value to children’s everyday experiences in the classroom.
Forest School Sai Kung:
Forest House International Waldorf School will follow the Waldorf curriculum and is an extension of the oh-so-popular preschool, Garden House Kindergarten in Clearwater Bay. The school focused on outdoor learning with kids taking regular adventures outside - farming, hiking, creating things from nature, and more.
Wilderness International Kindergarten:
Offering a place where "learning is an adventure," Wilderness based in Kennedy Town aims to develop a life-long love of learning in the children it teaches, encouraging intellectual, social, physical and emotional development. The key to the new kindergarten is the connection to nature it highlights every day, not only through its activities and classes but also with significant outdoor play. Wilderness is home to a playground with treehouse, sensory gardens, climbing frames, and a mud pit, while indoors, the home-style learning environment is a refreshing place for the kids to expand their knowledge.
Discovery Bay International School (DBIS):
Explore the garden (made from typhoon-salvaged wood and other eco-finds), build a fairy house, or make a treasure hunt...exploring outside is key here. Discovery Bay International School (DBIS), adopted the Forest School program at its Early Years campus in September 2016.
ICHK Hong Lok Yuen:
For those who have not visited this gem of a school in the New Territories, now is the time. The gorgeous green campus is perfectly situated for outdoor learning. Innovative work is now underway to establish their very own Forest School and outdoor classroom on their grounds. Partnerships with Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Gardens are also in the works.
Lastly, if your child attends a school that does not offer the Forest School concept, there are still ways to enjoy this experience. A break from wooden puzzles, electronic devices and pretend toys, and into the forest and water for some play. Below is a nature-focused program offering camps and after-school fun in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Forest Adventures:
The HK Forest Adventures, (formally known as the HK Forest Kindergarten) specializes in taking toddlers and young children, ages 1.5 - 6 years old into the Forest to play. It is an all-weather activities company, meaning they mostly play outside regardless of the elements, if it's hot, they play in the water! If it rains, they play in the mud and the puddles. The programs are child-led and not curriculum-driven.
The Backyard Gang
From beach days out and family hikes to riding bikes, flying kites, and pier fishing, The Backyard Gang creates those backyard experiences from many a childhood gone by in fast-paced Hong Kong.
Outdoor Education Programs In Hong Kong:
Little Steps Guide To Outdoor Education - Scouts, Outward Bound, and more!
Make your own Mud Kitchen - click here!
Play The Forest School Way - fun book!
Fun DIY Ideas:
- Take a ball of string and use the climbing frame or a tree to create a spider's web.
- Drape a sheet to create a den.
- Rub a crayon over paper held over different textures like stones and bark and leaves.
- Hunt for bugs!
- Make mud pies.
- Collect natural colors - sort rocks, sort leaves, etc.
- Paint faces onto the trees using mud.
- Make crowns from the treasures you find in the woods.
- Make nests from twigs, leaves and grass cuttings for your soft toys.
- Use flour to either mark out the path where you've walked, or to lay a treasure trail for the children to follow.