Learning in nature: a school in Montluçon (Allier) practices outside of school

The children sit in groups under an old oak tree. After listening to their teacher’s instructions, they try to form a figure with what they have picked up on a path in the bocage: pebbles for the eyes, a pinecone for the nose, straw for the mouth… “But be careful, you mustn’t tear anything,” the teacher warned.

Reconnect with nature

In the first year, the four classes of the Louise-Michel kindergarten, in Montluçon, practice outside at school one morning a week. Born in the lands of the north, this pedagogy reconnects with the child’s original need to spend time in nature.

Observe at your own pace

“Some children go out very little and adults don’t encourage them, for fear of dirt or injury. They are not comfortable with running, climbing, braking. The outdoor school provides children with freedom of movement, the opportunity to observe at their own pace and get to know the world around them better,” explains school teacher Delphine Chenevat, who every Monday accompanies her medium and large class to the old rope course , a beautiful green campsite on the edge of the city, near rue de Marignon.

Better focus

Since the beginning of the school year, she has been teaching students to wash away chestnuts, insects, snails, hawthorn and even plantain. “We are also working on more academic concepts, such as opposing words – soft and hard, for example – or the arrangement of natural elements from largest to smallest. When we work on the concrete, it stays anchored in it. †

Working in a group

Studying in a group strengthens cooperation. “It forces them to come together to achieve a goal. We are not in competition, I want future citizens who help each other,” the school teacher supports, recalling all the benefits of these pedestrian outings: strengthening the immune system, fighting obesity, improving well-being, self-esteem or stimulating creativity.

There are also advantages for teachers. The freedom of action is greater. We act on the children’s comments, we trust what they see, we let go a little bit

Better inclusion for students with disabilities

Four adults accompany the outing, including the Atsem (area agent specializing in kindergartens) Marie-Alice. “We see that children are more sensitive to nature than at the beginning of the year. If they see litter, they warn us,” she notes. “For students with disabilities, it helps them to evolve, to socialize,” adds Nathalie, AESH (accompanying student with disabilities).

A micro forest in the school

This initiative does not stand alone in this Louise-Michel school. In the playground there is an educational beehive, vegetable gardens, an orchard, a composter, a vermicomposter, chickens and even a micro forest, planted a few weeks ago. “We are four close teachers, with the same wishes and the same vision of teaching,” explains Delphine Chenevat.

premium A micro forest planted in a kindergarten in Montluçon (Allier)

As the school kids finish their “horrible or cute woodsman,” the teacher takes off balance from this first year of school. “This allowed some children to approach others more easily, to integrate more quickly. We also see that their vocabulary has grown, as has their sentence structure. †

Guillaume Bellavoine

Leave a Comment