In the in-between: forest kindergarten from an interior design perspective

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Madlung, Darci
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Contemporary education does not leave students with all of the necessary skills to navigate the increased complexity of the shrinking globe. The loss of practical skills for sensitive engagement with the built and natural environment is a root cause of sustainability issues. Sustainable environmental systems education informed by the principles of forest kindergarten and Katie Davis’ Six Strategies for Environmental Learning are focused on embodied experience, teaching intellectual as well as ethical and emotional lessons leaving learners with the practical skills that they need to engage with holistic environmental systems. Natural systems sustain themselves in the way that designed systems also should. "The natural consumption cycle is a closed loop system where the waste of one is consumable of another." (9 Orr, 2004) Interior space fights the inevitable decay that is part of a natural life cycle, overlooking long-term life cycle implications. The sustainable systems and process of the built environment can be informed by the closed loop system of natural consumption. Design can remind humans of their role in the ecosystem. This closed loop system can also inform the evaluation of materials and furniture and the reuse of materials that might otherwise have been overlooked, resulting in the use, and production, of less new materials. This project explores the typology of Forest Kindergarten within the interior environment using a framework informed by concepts of nature inspired design, systems inspired design and material inspired design in order to challenge expectations of contemporary education and the built environment in order to leave users with new expectations of their role in the natural ecosystem.
Interior Design, Sustainable Design, Forest kindergarten, Upcycle, Education