“We envision children being children – happy, healthy and satisfied but at the same time smart enough to think and act creatively and critically”
Learning is a gradual process in shaping ones personality and to deal with the situation of life. Kinder school has its own importance as it prepare children to become adult citizens of tomorrow. The growth is parallel to the future and is reflected through the quality of present education system. Outdoor School Bangkok (OSB) is one such school which is stimulating curiosity in the young impressionable minds and equipping them with tools to become a better human being.
The school is inspired by the famous forest kindergarten concept (from Scandinavia), offering a stimulating green space within 1,600 sq. area in the heart of Bangkok (Sukumvit 46). The school has ample space for children to learn and develop in a fascinating and fun environment, catering children aged 18 months to 6 years. The Kindergarten is the first to offer young children a lifelong learning experience through regular play outdoors in a natural setting.
Parityada Punthapong (Kiki) is the Director and founder of the Outdoor School Bangkok. Having spent years in Sweden, Kiki was always fascinated by the Scandinavian educating system which allows children to reconnect and learn in nature no matter rain or shine. After she became a mother, she realized there was a shortage (or absence) of kindergarten in Bangkok that children can experience, discover and learn in nature. So she started the kindergarten that offer young children a lifelong learning experience through regular play outdoors in a natural setting. I often envision helping children to grow not only physically or mentally but also emotionally. I envision children being children – happy, healthy and satisfied but at the same time smart enough to think critically for this may be one of the most important skills that today’s children will need for the future-says Parityada Punthapong.
Uniqueness in Approach
Guided by the Core Values (Happier, Healthier & Smarter) and OSB makes learning more meaningful and lasting. Through authentic play, OSB integrates indoor classroom learning with outdoor experiences. Some of their outdoor facilities include: Outdoor classroom with colorful glasses (Emily – the elephant), Sensory garden, Sensory pathway, Spider walk, Mud pond, Pebble pits, Tortoise tunnel, Rock climbing wall, Frog pond and Kitchen garden.
As early years learn and gain experience through all their senses, getting outdoors to play is a brilliant sensory experience. The changing nature of the outdoors makes it an incredibly stimulating and multisensory place to play and learn. Also, life itself is dangerous. Life is full of risks. Without taking risks, no child would ever learn to walk or ride a bike. They believe that children need risk. It is a powerful catalyst for growth that helps them develop good judgment, persistence, courage, resiliency, and self-confidence. Experiencing outdoor play also helps children take risks and develop self-awareness.
So OSB follows the EYFS curriculum, integrating it with outdoor activities. The school knows that hands-on experience in nature helps build healthier, smarter, and happier children. They learn skills outdoors that they cannot learn inside a classroom. Growing research has been showing the importance of play outside the classroom. There are numerous health benefits to playing outside. Also, giving children the freedom of playing outdoor helps them to feel happier and calmer. Not only that, being outdoors encourages imaginative play, creativity, handeye coordination, balance, physical strength, and mental clarity, as well as increased problem- solving and critical thinking. Additionally, it leads to more cooperation and teamwork and raises children’s environmental awareness skills.
Importance of OutDoor- Nature Play
Outdoor School of Bangkok (Early Years) believes in great beginnings. Hands-on experience in nature helps build healthier, smarter, and happier children. They learn skills outdoors that they cannot learn inside a classroom.
The students are:
HEALTHIER – students here are physically healthy and have stronger immune systems, among others.
HAPPIER – students here have better emotional resilience and management of emotional states, among others.
SMARTER – students here are mentally smarter they have improved cognitive functioning, more relaxed/less stress, among others
Although growing research has shown the importance of play outside the classroom in a purposeful and challenging environment provides essential learning opportunities for children. In Thailand, there is still a wide spread mindset of avoidance when forming opinions on outdoor play. Parents or caregivers can deny children the opportunity for learning and development in outdoor play, replacing it with the fear of what might go wrong. So, the biggest achievements Outdoor School Bangkok has made is to educate and acknowledge parents and educators about the importance of outdoor play towards early childhood development. The school now sees a lot of other schools and kindergartens integrating outdoor classrooms in their regular curriculum.