Editor’s Note: This information about The Forest School first appeared on this post about Yongsan preschool options. In order to keep the conversations more coherent, we’ve closed comments on that original post and separated all school reviews to their own posts. If your child has or is currently attending this program, please feel free to leave your input here so other parents can make an informed decision. Thanks!
CONTRIBUTED BY KELLY GARCIA
The Forest School — 숲 (Sup)
This school is a very unique school in that it is all outdoors. Kids learn by exploring and interacting with their natural environment. The forest is literally their classroom. The school is a year round program and I’m told children even prefer the winter season to the summer. There are some structures…tent-like buildings where the kids eat, change clothes, build stuff, etc. The school is about a 40-min drive from base, but only about 15-20 on their school bus using the bus lanes. The bus picks up kids near Hannam Village.
Kids are separated by age group, but encouraged to follow their interests and learn at their own pace. While there is a lot of freedom, the day is not totally unstructured. In the mornings, kids get off the bus and eat then go off on a hike with their teacher(s) and do activities like building forts, collecting bugs, etc. They come back down the mountain and have lunch. (Much of the food is grown at the school.) Then they are free to play in the stream, climb trees, etc. They have someone come once a week to teach the kids about plants, someone come to do Korean music with them, an English teacher to hang out and speak in English with them… The school is Korean, but one of the teachers speaks good English and one speaks German. Several of the kids speak English very well.
Parent Take: PROS My child LOVES this school. Everyday he comes home with a backpack full of berries he picked, or wooden tools he made, or bugs…and lots of dirty clothes. He says he doesn’t learn anything; he just plays, but at the park he knows to warn me of holes in the trees that have yellow around them, “’cause that’s where hornets live”. Or he says he climbed a mountain so high he started crying…but he did it. He accomplished it. CONS This school may not be for everybody. There’s not a focus on traditional academics. And it’s a little freaky at first to go there and see kids wandering around on their own, seemingly unsupervised. (But if you hang around an afternoon and just watch, you’ll see that the teachers (and the kids) know what’s going on.) Also, it’s expensive.
However, if you have a highly active child or want your child to have a non-threatening Korean preschool experience (you can hang out at the school all day if you want), this is a great option.
Contact: 02) 3462-8077 (Korean only, but they may be able to find an English speaker.)
Ages: I’ll double check, but I think it’s American age 3yo-6yo
Hours: Hannam Bus drop-off is 9:05 am. Pickup 3:10-3:15
Cost: 800,000 tuition +1 00,000 bus fee = 900,000/month. No registration fee. Okay to pay by month or for child to attend for a few months. Discount if pay 3 months at a time. No waiting list!
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