First school year / Première année scolaire

Just like that, my wild child finished his first year in school.

Squirrel is one of only a handful of children who spent their preschool years in the Nature Kindergarten, Ireland’s first outdoor crèche. Over the course of two years, the reserved toddler had grown into a confident, athletic and caring little boy with an incredible connection to nature.

Understandably I worried a little about his transition into the classroom setting. His fine motor skills and ability to concentrate were of no concern whatsoever. But would he be able to follow the teacher’s instructions? Would he be enthusiastic about academic learning? Most of all, would he be ok with being confined between four walls?

Curious about the world

After two years spent roaming the Nature Kindergarten’s woodland, this lack of freedom could have come as a shock to Squirrel. But it wasn’t to be. Whether it was his natural capacity for adaptation, or simply because he knew the drill (for doing Jedi and Mermaid’s school runs with me for so long), I don’t know. Not once did he shed a tear. Not once was he less than cheerful going to school. Not only did he settle in, but he soon became very popular, both in his own class and the rest of his age group. 

A few weeks ago, he brought home his first ever school report card. It made for heart-warming reading – Squirrel ‘is a very friendly and kind-hearted boy who doesn’t like to see others excluded or sad.’ He ‘loves investigating and learning new things.’ 

When I asked his lovely teacher whether she thought Squirrel’s outdoor learning experience had made any difference, good or bad, to his school year, she commented on his ‘great body control and his confidence’. She added, ‘He is also very curious about the world around him, and it really shows in science, for instance.’

On his report card, she advised, ‘Continue to encourage him in his outdoor pursuits’. Not that we needed any such endorsement to pursue our beloved family adventures in nature. But how satisfying to know that they make Squirrel ‘a very well-rounded and happy child’!


Et voilà, mon enfant des bois vient de terminer sa première année scolaire.

Ecureuil est des quelques enfants qui ont passé leurs années de maternelle au Nature Kindergarten, le tout premier jardin d’enfants en plein air d’Irlande. En deux ans, mon bambin réservé était devenu un petit garçon attentionné, athlétique et plein d’assurance, doté d’une incroyable connexion à la nature.

Naturellement, la transition en milieu scolaire me préoccupait un tant soit peu. Certes, sa capacité de concentration et sa motricité fine ne me causaient aucun souci. Mais écouterait-il l’institutrice ? Prendrait-il goût aux apprentissages scolaires ? Et surtout, comment vivrait-il de se retrouver enfermé entre quatre murs ?

Curiosité naturelle

Après deux ans à explorer les bois du Nature Kindergarten, ce soudain manque de liberté aurait pu lui faire l’effet d’une douche froide. Il n’en fut rien. Difficile de dire si c’est grâce à sa capacité naturelle d’adaptation, ou simplement parce que les lieux lui étaient déjà familiers (après avoir accompagné avec moi Jedi et Sirène à l’école pendant plusieurs années). Toujours est-il qu’il n’a pas versé une larme. Chaque jour, il allait en classe le pas léger et le sourire aux lèvres. Non seulement a-t-il trouvé ses marques aisément, mais il est rapidement devenu très populaire, dans sa classe et parmi les autres enfants de son niveau.

Il y a une quinzaine de jours, il a rapporté son premier bulletin scolaire. Les mots de son enseignante m’ont fait chaud au cœur : Ecureuil “est un garçon chaleureux et gentil qui n’aime pas voir les autres exclus ou tristes.” Il “adore explorer et apprendre de nouvelles choses”.

Quand j’ai demandé à son institutrice si elle pensait que cette expérience au Nature Kindergarten avait influencé, en bien ou en mal, son année scolaire, elle a répondu être impressionnée par “les capacités motrices et l’assurance” d’Ecureuil. Et d’ajouter : “Il a aussi une grande curiosité pour le monde qui l’entoure, et ça se voit notamment en sciences.”

Sur son bulletin, elle a écrit : “Continuez d’encourager ses activités en plein air.” Nous n’avions pas vraiment besoin d’une telle approbation pour poursuivre nos aventures familiales en pleine nature. Mais quel bonheur de savoir qu’elles contribuent à faire d’Ecureuil “un enfant équilibré et très heureux” ! 

 

 

 

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6 Responses to “First school year / Première année scolaire

  • Congratulations I am certain that his nursery experience has had a massive effect! I see so many children with motor skills problems now. I want more kinaesthetic learning experiences! Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime
    Imperfect Mum recently posted…A Glimpse into our Autism: The School Trip

    • Thank you Catie! I too see so many kids with sensory/motor problems these days, it breaks my heart. I am no expert but I’m convinced that getting them outside to play in nature is the answer.
      Thank you for hosting #ablogginggoodtime

  • Awww… well done! Another year has gone. You must be so very proud of him, and at the same time anxious if he will be okay. I feel the same with my boy when he goes up to Year 2. My girl will be staying at the same nursery where is happy at so there is no concern there. Sound like Squirrel is such a happy little boy and very sociable too – you should have no worries there mama. Well done for preparing him to the next stage. xx

    Thank you so much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost
    Su {Ethan & Evelyn} recently posted…Tips On How To Help Your Teething Baby

  • What a happy and delightful boy you have. You must be really pleased. But doesn’t time fly? Thanks for linking up with us at #FabFridayPost

  • What a lovely start to his school days, and a great report from his teacher too. I also love all of your beautiful photos. #FabFridayPost

  • Lovely post. Best of luck to your little guy.

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