by Katherine Martinko
After experiencing the “diseased” U.S. education system firsthand, Danish filmmaker Dan Stilling (who filmed “The Martian”) and American producer/writer Aimie Stilling head to Scandinavia to show how children are educated there, in stark contrast to the U.S. approach. The result is a beautiful 80-minute documentary that moves between the forests near Copenhagen to the fjords of northern Norway, looking at the unusual and truly wonderful ways in which Scandinavian children are taught. The film has been very well-received and has already won 5 international awards.
The fundamental difference shown in the film is the attitude that “Children belong in nature, and nature belongs in education.” Many children attend forest kindergartens, where they spend most of their days outside, rain or shine. In the words of one teacher, “I’ve never met a child so wet that they couldn’t get dry again.” Even children who live in urban settings are frequently taken into the wilderness, into national parks, where they engage with nature for hours on end.