child wildschooling and standing on stump in nature.

What is Wildschooling (Your Wild School Guide to Learning)

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In recent years, amidst a world increasingly dominated by technology and urbanization, a transformative educational movement has emerged, known as Wildschooling. But you might be wondering “what is wildschooling?”

The wildschooling approach, often associated with forest schooling, redefines the traditional school environment by recognizing the great outdoors as the ultimate classroom and allowing children to learn at their own pace.

Wildschooling (or wild schooling) isn’t about academics, but about nurturing the whole family through tangible life experiences and fostering a deep emotional connection to the natural world.

child out in nature participating in wildschooling or wild schooling

From nature-inspired activities to camping trips and scavenger hunts in our local park, every day is a new adventure that enriches our children’s educational journey.

And we are so excited to tell you all about this movement that is taking alternative education by storm!

What is Wildschooling?

Under the guidance of experienced group leaders, children set out on an educational journey that transcends the boundaries of a typical school setting.

Instead of confining learning to desks and textbooks, Wildschooling allows children to explore the right place for them – the great outdoors.

In this nurturing environment, children are encouraged to document their observations and reflections in a nature journal, facilitating their child’s learning process. Wildschooling acknowledges that nature serves as the context root for learning and addresses children’s child’s needs and emotional needs.

One of the hallmarks of Wildschooling is its commitment to providing a wide-range of sources for learning, recognizing the diverse languages of the child. Through outdoor learning experiences, children engage their senses and develop essential skills, including the art of survival.

Wildschooling guides children through their child’s educational journey, emphasizing home education and community involvement.

Whether in a typical day or a remote village, Wildschooling nurtures a profound child connection with nature through nature play and exploration.

At the start of the wild, Wildschooling offers a great deal of opportunities for children to engage in meaningful wildschooling activities tailored to their interests and abilities.

Related: Natural Schooling (The Complete Guide to Natural Education)

By exploring their local habitat and embracing Wildschooling’s tenants, children develop a deep appreciation for the natural world.

Principles of Wildschooling

As homeschooling parents inspired by Charlotte Mason and Earth Schooling philosophies, we’ve found Wildschooling to be an incredible approach that truly resonates with the principles of connecting children to the natural environment.

A few of these principles include:

Nature Connection

Wildschooling (or wild schooling) recognizes that children have an inherent need to connect with nature. It emphasizes immersing children in natural environments to foster a deep and meaningful relationship with the natural world.

Child-Led Learning

Wildschooling values allowing children to take the lead in their learning journey. Children are encouraged to explore their interests and passions at their own pace, empowering them to become active participants in their education.

Holistic Development

Wildschooling addresses the holistic needs of children, including their emotional, social, physical, and cognitive development. It prioritizes activities and experiences that nurture the whole child, not just academic achievement.

Experiential Learning

Wildschooling emphasizes hands-on, experiential learning experiences. Children learn best through direct interaction with their environment, engaging all their senses and immersing themselves in real-life experiences.

Community and Collaboration

Wildschooling values community involvement and collaboration. It encourages children to learn from and with others, fostering social skills, empathy, and a sense of belonging.

Place-Based Education

Wildschooling acknowledges the importance of connecting children to their local environment and community. It utilizes the resources and opportunities available in the local area to enhance learning experiences.

Flexibility and Adaptability

Wildschooling embraces flexibility and adaptability in learning approaches. It recognizes that every child is unique and may require different methods and resources to support their learning journey.

Respect for Nature and Wildlife

Wildschooling instills a deep respect and appreciation for nature and wildlife. Children learn about conservation, sustainability, and the importance of protecting the natural world for future generations.

Joyful Learning

Wildschooling prioritizes creating joyful and meaningful learning experiences for children. It celebrates curiosity, wonder, and exploration, fostering a lifelong love of learning.

Empowerment and Independence

Wildschooling aims to empower children and foster independence. By providing opportunities for children to make choices, take risks, and solve problems, this educational approach promotes self-confidence and self-reliance.

The Founder and Origin of Wildschooling

Nicolette Sowder is the founder of Wildschooling, an educational approach emphasizing children’s development and nature connection.

Wildschooling allows children to learn at their own pace, fostering a unique approach to education outside traditional classroom settings.

Children engage with natural elements and document their observations in nature journals under the guidance of group leaders.

This approach nurtures their emotional needs and fosters a deep connection to nature, aligning with the timeless human tradition of learning from the natural world.

Through Wildschooling, Sowder advocates for a holistic education that honors children’s individuality and prepares them for future challenges.

This technique, rooted in place-based education and unschooling principles, transforms traditional homeschooling paradigms by nurturing children’s emotional and developmental needs while fostering resilience, creativity, and empathy.

How Does Wildschooling Work?

Wildschooling provides a variety of sources for learning and encourages exploration in different ways within a free community environment. It recognizes the importance of nature connection in children’s educational journey and offers activities such as outdoor learning experiences and community events to cultivate this bond.

Wildschooling operates on the principle that learning is a natural process that unfolds organically when children are immersed in their surroundings.

The curriculum is not predetermined but emerges based on the interests and curiosities of the learners.

Outdoor activities, nature hikes, and exploration become integral components of the learning process.

Wildschooling often involves…

  • nature journals
  • tracking wildlife
  • plant identification
  • and other hands-on experiences that connect academic concepts with the real world.

Wildschooling Examples

Group Leader-led Outdoor Learning Experience

A Wildschooling group leader takes a small group of children to a nearby forest for an outdoor learning experience. While exploring, children engage with the natural environment, fulfilling their emotional needs for connection and exploration.

The group leader facilitates discussions and activities that cater to each child’s need for learning and discovery.

This hands-on approach, rooted in the context root of Wildschooling, allows children to immerse themselves in nature while fostering a strong child relationship with the outdoors.

Community-Based Wildschooling Activities

A local organization hosts a series of Wildschooling activities for children and their families. These activities, led by experienced educators and unschooling mums, provide children with opportunities to engage their senses and develop essential skills.

From scavenger hunts to nature art workshops, these activities tap into children’s visceral sensory stimuli and offer a little bit of magic in their learning journey.

By participating in these community events, children not only learn about the natural world but also develop a deeper appreciation for their local environment.

Child-led Exploration of Circadian Rhythms

In a Wildschooling homeschool environment, children have the freedom to explore their natural surroundings and observe the changing patterns of the day.

Guided by their own interests and curiosity, they document their observations in nature journals and discuss their findings with their peers.

This child-led approach allows children to connect with the circadian rhythms of nature, fostering a deeper understanding of the world around them.

The role of the group leader in this context is to support and facilitate children’s learning while respecting their autonomy and individual needs.

Outdoor Classroom with Classroom Teachers

In a traditional school setting, classroom teachers integrate Wildschooling principles into their curriculum by incorporating outdoor learning experiences into their lessons.

For example, a science lesson on plant life cycles may involve taking students to a local garden or park to observe plants in their natural habitat.

By immersing students in the outdoors, classroom teachers address children’s fundamental needs for connection with nature and emotional fulfillment.

This type of approach not only enhances students’ learning experiences but also highlights the pivotal role that outdoor education plays in their overall development.

Can You Add a Predetermined Curriculum and Still Be Considered Wildschooling?

The beauty of Wildschooling lies in its flexibility. While it traditionally leans towards unstructured learning, some families and educators choose to incorporate predetermined curricula with a nature-focused approach.

This can include themes like ecology, botany, or outdoor survival skills. The key is maintaining the spirit of exploration and connecting the curriculum to real-world outdoor experiences.

Who is Wildschooling For?

Wildschooling is for families and educators who believe in the transformative power of nature and seek an alternative, holistic approach to education.

It’s for parents who want their children to develop a deep connection with the environment, fostering a love for learning that extends beyond the classroom.

Whether in urban or rural settings, Wildschooling is adaptable and accessible to anyone willing to embrace the outdoors as an invaluable educational resource.


Wildschooling goes beyond a mere method; it’s a movement that reconnects learners with nature, fostering curiosity and lifelong learning.

As society leans towards technology, this alternative approach to education reminds us of nature’s timeless lessons.

It encourages us to embrace outdoor education, where every natural element becomes a classroom. Join the revolution in education, where nature’s wonders await exploration.

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