Maryfaith Decker Miller and a group of six children trudged through the snow to get to a fire pit. It was a chilly Wednesday afternoon — 19 degrees, to be exact — but they were determined to start a fire and bake bread.
When they got there, two children helped Decker Miller start the fire. They took turns trying to light a match. The rest of the group slid down an icy hill one by one, screaming with laughter. One child departed from the group to pick up branches and build a fort.
This is a typical day at Lime Hollow Forest Preschool, the only licensed outdoor preschool in Cortland County. Although their activities change depending on the season, the concept behind them is the same: letting children explore their surroundings and learn new skills while connecting with nature. Here, the great outdoors is their classroom — in rain, shine or snow.
“We’re moving around the world with no fences,” said Decker Miller, the forest preschool director. She started the program five years ago after watching a documentary about Swiss kindergarteners who spent their days outside in the woods instead of a classroom during the school year, no matter what the weather was.
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