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The School in the Forest

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‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ is a term coined by Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods. This is not a medical condition, but a description of the human costs of alienation from nature and the damage it does to children. In a world where the landscape is becoming increasingly urbanised and man-made, a school located in a forest may sound like a fairytale. Woodland Star International School is not only a school that follows the principles of Forest Schools, but is also located IN the 40-acre Brackenhurst Forest

How Nature Helps Children Learn

Without a doubt, our school enjoys one of the most beautiful, spacious and green campuses in Nairobi. Interactions with nature, the forest and the green spaces all around us are baked into our everyday curriculum.

Greater Good magazine published an article highlighting the Six Ways Nature Helps Children Learn“Nature improves children’s psychological and physical well-being and that can impact learning. But it also seems to affect how they attend to and engage in the classroom, how much they can concentrate, and how well they get along with teachers and peers.” Here are some of the ways nature can help children learn:

  1. Restores attention
  2. Relieves stress
  3. Helps children develop more self-discipline
  4. Outdoor instruction make students more engaged and interested
  5. May increase physical fitness
  6. May promote social connection and creativity

Non-Traditional Classroom Setting

Our unique forest environment, including an onsite agro-forestry project and seed bank, gives our students the opportunity to learn more deeply about nature and conservation, as the trees and vegetation provide a source-based learning experience that is difficult to replicate and often neglected in traditional classroom settings.

Woodland Star – ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ Antidote

The forest that surrounds our school has played a vital role in our curriculum development. Our students use weekly nature walks through our indigenous forest as part of their learning. Regular engagement with surrounding nature and exploration of our wide, open spaces is part and parcel of the school life of every child at Woodland Star. The environment and setting of our school is regularly mentioned by past students and their families as being a critical part of their educational experience. “WSS is a place of acceptance where all are valued for being unique individuals. Our children Ned and Hana became more empathic, caring and giving because of it. They climbed trees, played with mud, grew fruits and vegetables, built eco-friendly structures, explored the forest and released orphaned owls.”

If you want to find out more about the benefits of our school in the forest for your children, you can book a tour here: https://www.woodlandstarkenya.com/schedule-a-tour/ 

Woodland Star Supports the Restoration of Brackenhurst Forest

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The Woodland Star campus is located in the incredible 40-acre Brackenhurst indigenous forest. Regeneration of the forest began in 2000 with the removal of most of the exotic trees and their replacement with indigenous trees. The forest currently boasts more than 1,500 species of indigenous plants: trees, climbers, shrubs, flowers, herbs, ferns, orchids and fungi that have been planted by students, staff and visitors.

Underlying our ethos at Woodland Star is the understanding that we are all a part of this ecosystem that we call the world. It is everyone’s responsibility to craft new ways of positively interacting with our environment for our combined sustainability. As a school, we must show children awareness in choosing actions that benefit our local and global community.

As such, support of the forest is an integral part of the school’s sustainability efforts. Our macro responsibility to the ecosystem starts with our micro responsibility to the Brackenhurst Forest. In addition to student-led initiatives such as campus tree-planting programs (our learners have planted thousands of trees!) and volunteering in the forest, a financial contribution from each student’s school fees is made towards the forest restoration efforts each year.

This year our contribution will exceed $12,000 and we look forward to raising more each year. As Woodland Star International School grows so does the impact we can have on our surroundings now and in the future.

If you are interested in joining our green community, or for more information about our forest restoration efforts, you can get in touch with us at: hello@woodlandstarkenya.com | +254 (0) 715 741 041

Festival of Peace

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At the Woodland Star School Festival of Peace, students traveled the world, using the elements and looking at belief systems through stories in their search for peace. On our forest stage, we drummed, sang, acted and danced as we explored what it means to be a global citizen longing and working for peace in our world today and for the future. We all at Woodland Star International School want peace for all of the children of the world now and forever!

For more information and to schedule your tour visit: https://www.woodlandstarkenya.com/schedule-a-tour/