“A long, long time ago, maybe two hundred thousand years ago, and in a few places still today, the native people who lived off their land schooled their children, but they did it invisibly. Our ancestors’ children didn’t go to school. School surrounded them. Nature was a living teacher. There were many relatives for every child and every relative was a mentor. Stories filled the air and ceremonies of gratitude filled mundane lives.
Wouldn’t it brighten our horizons to see more of this kind of teaching in our suburbs and cities today?”
- Ellen Haas, The Art of Mentoring and Coyote Teaching audiotape with Jon Young, 1995 (cited in Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature)
The Nature School at the Brosepark is the result of the efforts of a group of parents and nature mentoring enthusiasts. We want to create an in-town nature-linked living and learning environment where children can learn and grow in all respects within a safe environment following the example of nature, in community, and to a large extent in self-determination.
The driving force behind the Nature School is the Friends of the School Association “owayawa”, which is open to all parents and those interested in promoting the school. The school is independently managed by the association „Freie Waldschule e.V.“, which has also been successfully running the Independent Nature School at the StadtGut in Blankenfelde since 2007. The Nature School at the Brosepark was launched at the beginning of the 2017/2018 school year.
The school building is located in Pankow, close to the Berlin city limits, at Dietzgenstraße 49, 13156 Berlin, across from the Brosepark. The children in our school learn and play not only in school but also as much as possible outside in nature.
Subject to the Berlin framework curriculum for elementary schools, the school will operate on the understanding that children learn at their own pace and most sustainably that which interests them; it takes freedom in thinking and learning. The school will be based on the pedagogical principles of:
Jon Young und the 8-Shields Institute for Nature Connection
The school will be designed as a community-building and character-building learning environment that supports children and adults to develop and deepen a mindset based on mutual respect, connection with all life, and peacemaking principles. The school allows the children’s personalities to unfold from their own inner strengths. Based on the principle “relationships rather than rearing” (“Beziehung statt Erziehung”), we put an emphasis on building healthy interpersonal relationships in order to enable versatile opportunities for learning. Being able to decide means taking responsibility.
People who live and learn in this context may develop a mindset and intuition that are shaped by life-enhancing personality traits. One can acquire knowledge, but a mindset must be developed over time.
I am a child of the sky and the earth
I am a child of the sun, moon and stars
I am a child of light and love
I become, I become, I become what I am