“How are you in the cold?” Children and teachers in the Sonnberg forest kindergarten hear this question again and again, especially in the winter months. Not every winter is the same and children cope differently with the freezing temperatures, but the children don’t let the weather spoil their fun. In Sonnberg im Mühlkreis at 740 meters above sea level. A. But some winter days are already a small test. “I often come to the Arctic from spring when I drive to work,” says Irene Mehringer, the educational director from Walding (303 meters above sea level).
First snowflakes cheered
In December, the winter was well received, the first snow made the children’s hearts beat faster. Bobsledding, building snow castles and figures, and experimenting in the ice workshop are among the highlights of the cold season.
In winter, trudging through the forest is often too demanding, the paths are too long, or the forest is not safe due to the pressure of ice and snow on the trees. Then the “mushroom house” is particularly important, and the wood stove provides cozy warmth. “The children are used to fetching wood and making a fire every day, and they are very happy to help,” the teachers say.
Painting, pottery, cooking
Special projects take place in the house during this time: A painting room based on Arno Stern is available, as is a clay workshop. Or the children can try their hand at building pitch torches or in the wood-fired oven in the forest kitchen.
Tips against the cold
Tips are passed on among the parents: It’s good to know that the shoes should offer plenty of space, otherwise your feet won’t get warm. Merino and alpaca wool or silk are strong supporters here, as they keep you warm even when wet. But the most important thing is the warmth from the inside from tea, soup or porridge in a thermos mug – and of course laughing together, funny songs, circular dances and games.
For body, mind and soul
A daily life in the forest and on meadows brings with it a stable immune system. Of course, children are not spared from a runny nose when they are outdoors. “In my personal experience, however, the immune system is more stable and much less vulnerable,” says one mother. The intensive connection with the earth and the elements is particularly healing. “When will the rain come again, Mom? I finally want to jump into the laughter again …”, some children’s voices can be heard. “Children don’t judge the weather unless they learn it from adults,” the teachers explain. However, if you’re having a bad day, the icy wind can be too much and a day off is called for. In rare exceptions, such as on stormy days, the children are in the multi-purpose hall in Sonnberg or in the “Schwammerlhaus” doing handicrafts.
“Wonder and adventure lurk outside!” – Under this motto, there are again holidays in the forest at the Sonnberg location this year. In August, children between the ages of four and ten are invited to build, climb trees, research, do handicrafts, discover and play freely in the forest: www.kinderimwald.at. Anyone who would like to get to know the Waldkinder Sterngartl can also contact [email protected]
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