FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Safeguarding is of paramount importance to us.

We believe it is essential to ensure that children learn from the very beginning to assess possible risk factors in advance and have the resources to recognise and prevent challenging situations in good time.

A further safety factor is the low ratio between teachers and children; this allows us to guide them in their free discovery of the natural environment, closely monitoring any problem that may arise.

Among the important means of prevention are the rules of behaviour that will be agreed with the children and explained to them in age-appropriate language. These rules mainly concern the daily routine, both inside and outside the nursery school.

A study by Roland Gorges has shown that children who have attended a kindergarten inspired by the concept of outdoor education have acquired skills that are generally above average within all the areas of competence that have been tested compared to children who have attended a more traditional nursery school.

The skills acquired include the very first forms of writing, drawing, reading and mathematics, as well as musical and artistic skills and motivation to learn.

In Northern Europe, this educational model has become an established and widespread reality and has in no way highlighted any difficulties in integrating children into primary school.

On the contrary, with reference to what has been said above about the skills acquired by children and also thanks to the peculiarities of a kindergarten immersed in nature, children who attend it generally have a greater awareness of their body, as well as balance, agility, dexterity, coordination, tactile and perceptive sensitivity.

We recommend you to dress your child in seasonally appropriate clothing, so as to ensure the right protection against the harsh winter temperatures and greater freshness in the warmer months. Parents are also required to respect the colours of the nursery school uniform.

Clothing required for the winter months: dark blue trousers, long-sleeved T-shirt and blue sweatshirt (better if with a zip fastener).

Clothing required for the mild months: dark blue trousers, short-sleeved T-shirt and blue sweatshirt.

For outings and excursions in nature, each child will wear the waterproof uniform and galoshes, both included in the registration kit, necessary so that the children can stay dry and preserve the cleanliness of the uniform as much as possible.

All educational games are carefully selected, and many of them are of Montessori and Steinerian inspiration.

In general, we prefer materials that enable the child to interact with and develop a critical sense. The educational materials we use are made of natural and non-toxic materials and are designed to increase children’s sensory perception and stimulate imagination. Most of the materials are intentionally designed to be self-correcting (error-checking) to increase children’s ability to solve problems and develop practical skills. Additional games, are suitable for older children to start learning the alphabet and develop their first literacy and maths skills.

At Iaia Outdoor Education we do not have two games of the same type; we believe that this choice, inspired by the Montessori method, is a useful tool to educate children to know the importance of waiting for their turn to play a game.

This method encourages children through the observation of their schoolmate playing, to learn how to use the game in a patient and proper way.

Drawing inspiration from the Comenius method of language learning, known as the “global method”, we will support children in learning the new vocabulary in English by focusing on the relationship between the new words that they learn and their first-hand experience in order to make it easier for them to understand and acquire the new vocabulary.

At this stage learning the new language is achieved by ensuring that children practice the English language as much as possible in their daily lives. As a result, they absorb the language like sponges, since at this age their minds are endowed with a very high learning potential. Montessori has defined children’s minds as ” absorbing minds” and it is at this stage of their lives that children learn a new language effortlessly, driven by curiosity about what is new to them.

Daily activities, such as saying hello on arrival at school and goodbye at the end of the school day, as well as the lunchtime and other daily routines, will be several opportunities to learn English. Our proposal to teach the new language is based on the T.P.R. approach: a teaching method that links the new words in English to gestures and movements. Through the T.P.R. approach, by connecting the new word to the physical action of the child, long-term memory is activated, in order to obtain a learning that in our opinion is much more effective over time than passive listening and mechanical memorization of words that are not based on the direct and concrete experience of the child.

We firmly believe in the enormous potential of the so-called “peer education”, the educational model based on the concept of mutual teaching of Comenius and the pedagogy of Montessori about the ” natural mental osmosis existing between peers”.

The younger child, interested in the activities carried out by the older one, tries to imitate them and, at the same time, the older children gain more confidence in their abilities by assisting the younger one. In this way younger children learn better and faster from their classmates than the educators’ explanations and older children, on the other hand, feel more responsible by becoming a sort of “little guide” able to support the youngsters in difficulty.

Scientists have introduced the concept of “learning gradient”, which is the optimal gap between teacher and learner: the smaller the knowledge gap between the two, the better the learner will acquire knowledge.

The mixed group of children of different ages will therefore represent an added value in the children’s growth process. On the contrary, to verify the specific skills that children have acquired, we will work in small age subgroups.

Yes, there is a large parking lot right in front of the nursery school entrance and available for parents and relatives of children.

One of our goals, in line with Outdoor Education pedagogy, is to spend most of the school day outdoors every day. In case of severe weather conditions, educational activities will only take place indoors because the absolute priority is to ensure the safety of all children and to prevent any foreseeable risks.

Outings will also take place during days of mild rain or short snowfall, ensuring that all children wear the protective and waterproof uniforms (made in Sweden) and the galoshes, which are included in the school enrolment kit. Parents will receive their child’s school enrolment kit at the beginning of the school year.

We would also like to point out that many of the most common cold season illnesses such as colds and flu, which are caused by the massive presence in school classes of viruses and bacteria that are responsible for contagion among children, will be partly avoided thanks to the peculiar feature of IAIA Outdoor Education to ensure a wide range of educational moments outdoors and in nature.

The children’s ages range from 2 to 6, is a crucial period for the acquisition of new skills and, for most of them, is the first real moment of separation from their family environment. In this delicate stage, children also experience their first concrete forms of socialization with both teachers and peers. Such events are of vital importance and can influence the child’s future inclination towards sociality.

Starting from these premises, which we believe to be fundamental, our pedagogical method will be inspired by many concepts of pedagogical activism. It is essential that children gain concrete educational experiences, useful for their growth and gradual acquisition of skills, as theorized by the pedagogist John Dewey. He affirmed the importance of the concept of Learning by doing to increase children’s autonomy.

We also draw or inspiration from some of Froebel’s theories. According to him, children are compared to plants and teachers to gardeners who have to take care of them.

Children should have the opportunity to express their creativity freely, to develop their motor skills and to explore the natural world around them. For him, free play was seen as a spontaneous activity, fundamental for the development of language skills and cooperation.

We will structure our teaching activities in a playful way, in order to promote the acquisition of the skills required by the Ministry of Education for pre-school children and also for the acquisition of the English language.

We also consider of absolute importance some of the theories of Maria Montessori, the Agazzi sisters and finally Steiner – following their pedagogical theories, we focus our educational action on children and on the enormous formative potential of the link between nature and childhood. In fact, there will be many activities inspired by the above-mentioned educationalists that will take place in the open air, such as gardening – activities that give children the satisfaction of seeing how flowers or fruits are born. Other activities will be the exploration of nature and the collection of natural material to be classified and analysed in class, as well as the observation of nature to understand the cycle of the seasons and some other outdoor activities. In addition to contributing to the child’s physical growth, these activities in contact with nature also have the potential to increase the child’s sensory and emotional development and to introduce topics such as environmental education and curiosity about nature.

Attention will also be paid to exploring the world through the 5 senses, a pedagogical strategy supported jointly by Montessori and the Agazzian method. In a playful form, there will also be some practical activities, typical of the Montessori method, linked to everyday domestic life (putting away the games once used, setting the table etc). More generally, there will be activities designed to teach children how to do things on their own, to develop autonomy and coordination in movements in order to increase their self-confidence and improve their skills.

Teachers will also teach good personal hygiene and physical education habits, that will be taught through rhythmic exercises, exploration of the forest and vineyard, outdoor games and mime repetitions of gestures.

In addition, art education will be an important part of the whole school curriculum – it will initially be an activity of free expression of children’s creativity and then it will be linked to the fables and the fairy tales that we will read at school or to the children’s experiences lived in nature.

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IAIA OUTDOOR EDUCATION

IAIA SRL SB – P.IVA 12306570016 – C.F. 12306570016 | Sede operativa: strada Pino Torinese 61 – 10020 Baldissero T.se (TO) – Sede legale: via Cavour 41 – 10123 TORINO