The First Baptist Church of Clarendon Child Development Center Forest Kindergarten program allows school families to participate in their daily routine in the outdoors. Children, parents, and caregivers travel to Gulf Branch Nature Center where they participate in morning gatherings, Safe Keeper Rituals, share morning snack, and engage in natural exploration.

Forest Kindergarten field trips offer the chance for children to have the space, freedom and environment to be children and to learn through their play. Teachers and chaperones take a back seat as children guide their own discovery on and off trails, in the creek and meadows. Each trip we take is magical and the children always come back with new stories and skills!

There, children have the opportunity to hike trails, walk along or in the creek, and connect with the world around them in meaningful and intentional ways. Children demonstrate strength, flexibility, balance, and timing in using their large muscles to lift heavy logs, to climb up a tree, or to navigate the varying depths of the creek. When children use branches, logs, and sticks to build shelters or other structures they are exhibiting the ability to plan, engineer, and persevere. Tasks such as these also require goal definition and teamwork. Children may also use items to create patterns, play memory games, or arrange them to form a picture. While play takes place during the exploration period, so does rest. Children may choose to sit alone in a single spot and explore a single element, allowing for character development and aiding in self-awareness.

Each school family participates in the Forest Kindergarten program twice (minimally), once in the Fall/Winter and once in the Spring/Summer. School families participate indifferent to weather, as we believe that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.