Of course, the parents aren't always thrilled about these Waldkindergärten - the theme of rolling in mud occurs no fewer than four times in the article. Some other fun activities these kids do:
- "Another [girl] made "chocolate-vanilla-strawberry-herbal pudding" by stirring mud with a twig." The "herbal" part is something I would expect to be in Germany.
- "A boy named Ben wanted to know whether a North American visitor accompanying them was "a cowboy or an Indian.""
- In an American version, things are quite similar. "Among the nature-based activities, children learn how to handle a real saw." Contrast this with a mother I knew who wouldn't let even her 12-year-old use a butter knife alone.
Marsha Johnson launched Mother Earth kindergarten last fall to combat what she calls "early academic fatigue syndrome....We have 5-year-olds who are tired of going to school."Now, tell me, could this have any connection with our schoolchildren peaking in science (or math, or...) in 4th grade, dropping to the middle in 8th, and not being able to get through college without remedial courses? At what age do they enter school? Three years old? What if we moved the school entry date ahead four to eight years (and yes, I have read research demonstrating that a great number of children are not ready for school-style work until that 7-11 year window)? Could that shift the "peak" grade ahead by that much? More on that, hopefully, in the future.