About Us

 Network of Forest Kindergartens and Schools - DEVELOPMENT GROUP

 

Valentin Vodnik Primary School. Head of the Outdoor Lessons Innovation Project Ms. Renata Filipič.
Outdoor lessons as a mandatory part of school practice will not only improve the knowledge of our pupils, but also balance out the mainly sedentary lifestyle and promote their health.

Šmartno v Tuhinju Primary School. Coordinator of the outdoor lessons programme: Ms. Lučka Drganc; Organizing lessons in the forest requires careful and precise preparation and offers direct learning through observation and testing, also providing a creative space to acquire experience and facilitate personal development.


Anton Medved Kindergarten, Kamnik. Brigita Urbanija, Assistant Principal Approximately 400 children who are enrolled in our kindergarten visit the forest at least once a week. When they are in the forest, the children become just what we want them to be: cheerful, patient, mindful, in motion, persistent, curious, creative, dirty, kind, successful etc. In one word: HAPPY.
 

Ciciban Kindergarten, Šmartno pri Litiji Primary School. Ms. Mojca Dragar, head of the kindergarten and Duši Pevec head of the Cvinger Forest Playground Innovation Project. The forest adventures include a team of pre-school teachers who enjoy the outdoors and consider spending time with children in the forest a source of inspiration and an opportunity for situated learning.


The Slovenian Forestry Institute (represented by the acting director of the Department of Forest Ecology dr.Urša Vilhar) is a public research institute of national significance whose research findings are achieved through scientific excellence and professional competence. The researchers and experts of the Slovenian Forestry Institute wish to share our knowledge with all who enjoy natural sciences, engineering and experimenting within a forest ecosystem. We believe we possess the capabilities, inspiration and spatial capacities to continue the well planned out Forest of Experiments located amidst Ljubljana, and promote forests and science in Slovenia and abroad.

Ms. Tina Drolc, Graduate Communicologist, PUBLICA, Public Relations
She lends her knowledge to the Slovenian Network of Forest Kindergartens and Schools in the field of communication planning, organization of large events, communication with the media and other promotional activities.
Her professional career began in an advertising agency where she was involved in the organization of large events, promotion of national sports teams and introduction of the European Union during the process of approximation of Slovenia to the EU. Later, she was involved in politics for a few years, successfully running campaigns on a national and local level. The increasing tempo which was not conducive to family life prompted her to withdraw. Today, she is setting out on an independent career path. She possesses a wide range of experience and boasts a track record of organizing big events, holding lectures on PR topics, strategic communication planning and promotions. Her primary orientation is cooperation through encouraging knowledge, ideas and the creative energy in co-workers and partners, which is steeped in respect for the other and their personal growth.

Natalija Györek has concluded the study of forestry at the Department of Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources. She expanded her technical knowledge with a post-graduate master's in Environmental Protection at the University of Ljubljana. She founded the Forest Pedagogy Institute at the beginning of 2010 and has been working on developing Slovenian forest pedagogy ever since. She is one of the initiators of the Network of Forest Kindergartens and Schools. She has been working with children her entire life and it is precisely these forest workshops for children that give her the most energy and ideas.

She is the mother of a twelve-year-old boy named Korl, who was often the pioneer of ideas about changing the schools and kindergartens.

Alja Pirnat has a doctorate in biology. She is enthusiastic about nature and its diversity; she is primarily interested in fast, beautiful creatures – dragonflies and numerous bugs. She has also devoted herself to these two animal groups professionally, under her own company Zverce, Aljoša Pirnat s.p. Alja is a researcher, author and co-author of many scientific, technical and popular articles, and a collaborator on numerous projects. For many years now, she has been sharing her enthusiasm for nature at natural science camps with different generations of children and, of course, with her eight-year-old twins, Brina and Gregor.

Within the group she is in charge of zoological contents and will gladly assist you in discovering the small creatures that we often overlook, even though they are living all around us.

Dr. Natalija Komljanc, the head of innovation projects at the Institute of Education of the RS, is in charge of updating the school curricula for kindergartens and primary and secondary schools. In this regard, she provides comprehensive support to the national network of educational institutions which are involved in the modernization of the organization and running of the educational process by applying pedagogical/didactic principles of open learning in an open learning environment. In the context of open learning, innovators in the field of education take part in professional training aimed at monitoring and assessing the quality of the implementation of the educational process and the learning effects in an open setting, i.e. the forest. In terms of the subject matter at hand, heads of innovation projects are supported by consultants – forest experts.

One of the natural, open learning environments is the forest. It surrounds us with opportunities to breathe cleaner air, move around with ease, observe different harmonies, create, be in contact with water... In the forest acts of reflection – self-contemplation about: “Who are you?”, “Where are you going?” and “How will you walk the path of life?” are characterized by greater self-responsibility, self-respect, creativity and courage. Ideas seem more realizable then when we are pondering on them in a closed-off corner. Situated learning and interventions while observing nature provide us with new ideas, including how to create a more pleasant, healthy urban environment.

In the forest it is easier to find the meaning of wise thoughts, it is easier to give in to meditation, easier to sing: “never in a bad mood…”. All of the above and many of the other things that we will discover together is encouragement to create and preserve a network of forest kindergartens and schools.

The Slovenia Forest Service (head of the PR department: Mr. Andrej Breznikar) is the central institution of the public forestry service in Slovenia. ZGS is in charge of all fields of forest management in Slovenia, regardless of the ownership of forests. One of the statutory tasks of ZGS is also the education and awareness-raising in various groups of the public, especially children and youths. Providing knowledge and information is aimed at strengthening society's awareness on the significance of forests and sustainable, nature-compatible forest management. The transfer of knowledge is based on the principle of forest pedagogics which was developed with consideration to a comprehensive approach to man, taking into account his body, mind and emotions. The activities of forest pedagogics are regularly carried out by a staff of over 150 foresters at ZGS with the annual scope of such learning activities exceeding 17,000 participants.

Educational outdoor lessons could be integrated into the public strategy for health, education and sustainable development. This is the path we, as a development team, would like to pave together with schools, kindergartens, institutions, families, local communities and the state.
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