This research addresses the role of “nature” in forest kindergartens and nature preschools. The purpose of this research is to create an ethnography of these schools and to understand how the schools construct nature for their students. I visited two schools to interview teachers and to observe for one day at each school. I also used the ethnographic method of content analysis to analyze blogs from a third preschool. I used literature about forest kindergartens and nature preschools as well as research on social class and education to understand my research. I also used theories on American “wilderness” and “nature” to understand conceptions of “nature” at these American preschools. I found that these schools use “nature” as a classroom, a facilitator for scientific skill, and a way to experience risk. “Nature” has religious connotations as well as gives children access to an enchanted world of mythical creatures. This research provides an in depth look at these schools and how they utilize “nature.”


Frese, Pam


Sociology and Anthropology


Early Childhood Education | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Forest Kindergartens, Nature, Wilderness, Nature Preschools, Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2017 Emily T. Reid