Dharampal a student of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi wrote a book called "A beautiful tree" which documented at great lengths how British administration destroyed the local schooling system in India which at that time had managed to produce higher literacy rate (even among working low status masses) than England.

Among many things that British got wrong, one was the refusal to call a place school if it did not have a permanent building neatly separated into classrooms and such. More than the learning outcomes, the infra that mattered more for British to recognize anything as a school and they went about closing down the informal "under the tree" schools in this manner. Of course as you go deeper you realize this policy was driven more by the corruption in the East India Company and British government where missionaries wanted funding from government to build "infra" in the same of schools.

Much later in 2005 or so James Tooley another British Economist in charge of World Bank aid to school system in India discovered similar trends and quit his job to promote low cost high quality private schools.

Indian government around that time brought an evil law called Right to Education and permanently killed this concept. Running an open air school in India might get you jailed today.

Thousands of Forest Schools in Europe now; a huge growth sector spreading globally.

[0] https://forestschoolassociation.org/ [1] https://www.thenativeschool.com/forest-school-101 [2] https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20220105-how-asia-fell-in...

I am reminded of commentary I have seen about how if we taught baseball like we teach science, no one would play. They would study it in books for years without being allowed to play at all. No one would be excited about it.

When I homeschooling my sons, we went to zoos and museums and did a lot of hands-on stuff.

There was also a lot of reading, but not in place of hands-on learning.

Were there examples of schools trying to follow something similar during the peak of covid lockdowns? Such a simple solution if you think about it.
You really don’t need anything special for a high quality school. Protection from the elements, a communication tool, and students who want to learn or can be punished (such as expelling) if they don’t. All of the tech this or that is totally unnecessary.

Most kids should start working around 12 years old. The very motivated and intelligent can be identified by then and put into longer learning.

Those who start working should be able to go back to school if they have the desire and aptitude. Too many kids develop an intense hatred of school, caused by a combination of terrible teachers and poor quality peers. Experiencing more of the real world can provide an incentive to try hard in school before life brings them someplace else.

Except for a small handful of Waldorf schools, there seem to be precious few schools that will give my son significant outdoor time. In fact, I'm told that WA state won't even accredit fully outdoor schools (though I haven't checked this myself).

That really saddens me. From one perspective, nature is dying because nobody can be bothered to notice her (and thereby care about/for her) any more.

This fixes myopia as well
Reading the headline, I thought this was going to refer to the open layout school campuses similar to what is common in the Southwest US.

Pleasently surprised at a little piece of history I was unaware of.

Many turn of the century homes have large “sleeper porches” as the science of the day thought there were health benefits to sleeping outside. TB was an issue back then.
Really nice article!
"for certain children who are inmates of one of its schools for the mentally defective deaf."

Wow, that is a loaded statement that certainly has not aged well.

It's cheaper if you don't need to provide classrooms or textbooks for the "invalid" children. Just let them freeze to death out in the forest.