Hong Kong Forest Kindergarten is a kindergarten school that is environmentally friendly and nature-based education. Hong Kong is located in the southeastern part of China, the place is known for its population density of 7 million and lives on an area of 1,104 km. Most of the inhabitants are ethnic Chinese and Cantonese speakers. This Cantonese is from Guangdong Province, China.
The place is one of the global places for being the main trading hub and world financial center that occupies the third position after New York and London. In 2014, Hong Kong also occupies the fifth position of Global City index after New York, London, Tokyo, and Paris.
In the field of education, Hong Kong used the same educational system as the British system, although some were using the international system.
The education system consists of kindergartens from the age of three though not compulsory, and by the age of six, it is mandatory for primary school education. In the international student appraisal program, the education system there is ranked second best in the world.
Many residents’ requests, especially from parents in Hong Kong, to allow their children to learn and explore the environment without destroying nature and one solution is Hong Kong Forest Kindergarten.
The school was inaugurated in March 2015 at the Tao Po Kau Nature Reserve. At first Hong Kong was inspired by the Swiss State which has a nature-based school for children. Now Hong Kong has several schools based on natural education and is devoted to children aged three to six.
The curriculum is abstract like math and communication. What is taught to learners is also about nature, plants, and animals. The goal is to encourage them to become a more resilient, confident, independent and creative person.
This school is not like a typical school of education that has a partitioned in the classroom by a barrier wall, even they also do not wear uniforms for school.
The school opens a two-month trial session for newly admitted children, aiming at this session to introduce everything about nature to children so that they will not be surprised and start getting used to the material presented.
After passing through a two-month trial session, the child can go on to an eight-month study session and join with other children. Hong Kong Forest Kindergarten has several concepts, such as explaining that nature as a learning space, nature as the object of learning, a medium as well as teaching materials.
Children who study here will learn more about the open and natural place. The method that is taught by the teacher is the action learning method through experience.
In this school, the children will not feel bored, become active and more enthusiasm in learning. In addition, nature is considered very suitable as a medium of learning so that children are more concerned about the environment and can apply the knowledge gained from an early age.
Kids are free to run, explore nature and create adventure. Children are expected to carry their own bags without parents’ help, then walk through the forest for an hour. If there is a problem or debate with a friend, the child must solve his own problems in their own way.
On this place, parents should get used to allowing their children to grow freely in nature. When a child is fallen or injured in nature, parents should let their child cleanse and treat his own wound. Other children who see it are taught to empathize by helping them as well.
The children here are also taught to grow crops, take care of plants, fishing, climbing, picking fruit or vegetable plants and swimming in the river.
According to most of the parents who have sent their children to Hong Kong Forest Kindergarten, they feel that their children are more respectful of nature, adventurous, independent and more resilient in facing any situation.
From the brief review above, we can have a picture that the natural school can bring children closer and care about the environment. Hong Kong Forest Kindergarten can be a good example in the field of education, especially for natural schools in various regions of Indonesia.