Gabbie Rhodes Is Teaching in a Forest Pre-School

Posted by Monica Hoel
Parents of a certain vintage are famous for the line, “Go outside and play.” But these days a lot of parents are saying, “Go outside and LEARN.”

Gabbie Rhodes knows all about this because she is a preschool teacher at Valley Forest School in Roanoke. She teaches a class of preschoolers in the forest – every day, rain or shine, cold or hot.

When Gabbie talks about her work, she can’t stop smiling. She says it’s such a great environment to teach in, and she loves watching how the students respond to the non-traditional “classroom.” There are no desks; “We have picnic tables, and some tree stumps to sit on!” There are no walls or ceilings; “We have tarps to keep us covered when it rains.” And there is no technology; “The children write in their journals every day, we have story time, there is very little play equipment, not much in the way of toys, everything is very hands-on.”

For those of us who have spent time around preschool-aged children, one wonders if they ever complain during bad weather. But Gabbie says learning to deal with circumstances and adversity is part of the education in forest school. “It’s easy to tell which of the kids are new and which have been with us awhile; the new kids might cry about the rain, but the experienced kids are out jumping in puddles!”

Building on the science that is showing us how being outside can be a benefit to children (improved attention span, improved mental health, reducing obesity, etc.), the forest seems like the perfect place for preschoolers to learn. And Valley Forest School didn’t have to worry about Covid protocols that shut down a lot of indoor classroom situations. In fact, they picked up some additional students when mainstream schools had to close for awhile.

Gabbie learned about this sort of school from a mother who had previously employed her as a nanny. She loved that Gabbie took her children on hikes and exploring and suggested she look into teaching in this type of environment.

Gabbie says the children in her classroom are covering all the basics, but when it’s time to study the letter “B” they do more than simply talk about bugs – they also get to follow a real bug and see where it goes as it travels across the forest school floor.

  • Gabbie Rhodes, Emory & Henry Class of 2016

More News

  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1555-mackenzie-bellimam-uses-americorps-experience-to"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/180,700,962,1482/9087_IMG_4930_1.rev.1607191220.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/180,700,962,1482/9087_IMG_4930_1.rev.1607191220.webp 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/180,700,962,1482/9087_IMG_4930_1.rev.1607191220.JPG 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/180,700,962,1482/9087_IMG_4930_1.rev.1607191220.JPG" alt="MacKenzie Bellimam Emory & Henry Class of 2019" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/180,700,962,1482/9087_IMG_4930_1.rev.1607191220.JPG 2x" data-max-w="782" data-max-h="782" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1555-mackenzie-bellimam-uses-americorps-experience-to">MacKenzie Bellimam Uses Americorps Experience to Launch Career</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Speaking with MacKenzie Bellimam might make you think she’s been working on issues of storm water management for a long full career. But she only graduated in December of 2019. <a href="/live/news/1555-mackenzie-bellimam-uses-americorps-experience-to" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1126-class-notes-updated-january-2020"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/png" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/560,0,1280,720/7329_harold.rev.1578678696.png 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/560,0,1280,720/7329_harold.rev.1578678696.png" alt="Harold Craw, E&H Class of 1999, General Manager for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/560,0,1280,720/7329_harold.rev.1578678696.png 2x" data-max-w="720" data-max-h="720" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1126-class-notes-updated-january-2020">Class Notes Updated January 2020</a></h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"/><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1137-obituaries-updated-february-2020">Obituaries Updated February 2020</a></h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1273-finding-strategies-for-business-during-the"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,81,531,612/8140_Brian_Chandler2019.rev.1588795040.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,81,531,612/8140_Brian_Chandler2019.rev.1588795040.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,81,531,612/8140_Brian_Chandler2019.rev.1588795040.jpg" alt="Brian Chandler, E&H Class of 1997" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="531" data-max-h="531" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1273-finding-strategies-for-business-during-the">Finding Strategies for Business During the Pandemic</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Brian Chandler’s public relations firm is offering data-driven advice to companies. <a href="/live/news/1273-finding-strategies-for-business-during-the" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/971-on-the-cover"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/113,24,959,870/6895_lindsay_powers.rev.1568661161.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/113,24,959,870/6895_lindsay_powers.rev.1568661161.webp 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/113,24,959,870/6895_lindsay_powers.rev.1568661161.jpg 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/113,24,959,870/6895_lindsay_powers.rev.1568661161.jpg" alt="Lindsay Powers, E&H Class of 2016." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/113,24,959,870/6895_lindsay_powers.rev.1568661161.jpg 2x" data-max-w="846" data-max-h="846" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/971-on-the-cover">On the Cover!</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Lindsay Powers was just featured on the cover of Kingsport’s <em>Livability</em> magazine! <a href="/live/news/971-on-the-cover" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1549-all-the-evidence-points-to-preston-lowe"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/135,0,1677,1542/9081_image0_6.rev.1606956464.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/135,0,1677,1542/9081_image0_6.rev.1606956464.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/135,0,1677,1542/9081_image0_6.rev.1606956464.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/135,0,1677,1542/9081_image0_6.rev.1606956464.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/135,0,1677,1542/9081_image0_6.rev.1606956464.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/135,0,1677,1542/9081_image0_6.rev.1606956464.jpg" alt="Preston Lowe, Emory & Henry Class of 1996, with one of his adopted Greyhounds, Strummer." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/135,0,1677,1542/9081_image0_6.rev.1606956464.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/135,0,1677,1542/9081_image0_6.rev.1606956464.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1542" data-max-h="1542" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1549-all-the-evidence-points-to-preston-lowe">All the Evidence Points to Preston Lowe</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Preston Lowe swears he doesn’t drive a fancy sports car and wear aviator sunglasses with reflective lenses that he can whip off his face when making a revealing statement about evidence. But he is a forensic scientist for the FBI. <a href="/live/news/1549-all-the-evidence-points-to-preston-lowe" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1446-tenacious-m"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/57,208,1132,1282/8749_IMG-5662.rev.1602784822.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/57,208,1132,1282/8749_IMG-5662.rev.1602784822.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/57,208,1132,1282/8749_IMG-5662.rev.1602784822.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/57,208,1132,1282/8749_IMG-5662.rev.1602784822.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/57,208,1132,1282/8749_IMG-5662.rev.1602784822.JPG 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/57,208,1132,1282/8749_IMG-5662.rev.1602784822.JPG" alt="Monica Gonzalez, Emory & Henry Class of 1998" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/57,208,1132,1282/8749_IMG-5662.rev.1602784822.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/57,208,1132,1282/8749_IMG-5662.rev.1602784822.JPG 3x" data-max-w="1075" data-max-h="1074" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1446-tenacious-m">Tenacious M</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> When Monica Gonzalez was a student at Emory & Henry (Class of 1998) the dean of students told her she was “tenacious.” At the time, she wasn’t exactly sure how to take that. <a href="/live/news/1446-tenacious-m" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1674-the-doctor-is-inand-very-busy"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,435,2400,2835/9516_IMG-0197_1.rev.1615335532.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,435,2400,2835/9516_IMG-0197_1.rev.1615335532.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,435,2400,2835/9516_IMG-0197_1.rev.1615335532.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,435,2400,2835/9516_IMG-0197_1.rev.1615335532.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,435,2400,2835/9516_IMG-0197_1.rev.1615335532.JPG 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,435,2400,2835/9516_IMG-0197_1.rev.1615335532.JPG" alt="Dr. Erin Griffin, E&H Class of 2013, with Ash ? the office cat who decided he no longer wante..." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,435,2400,2835/9516_IMG-0197_1.rev.1615335532.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,435,2400,2835/9516_IMG-0197_1.rev.1615335532.JPG 3x" data-max-w="2400" data-max-h="2400" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1674-the-doctor-is-inand-very-busy">The Doctor is IN…and Very Busy!</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Dr. Erin Griffin (E&H 2013) figured out how to parlay a double major in music and chemistry into a brand new animal clinic she just opened. And she already has a full house of four-legged clients. <a href="/live/news/1674-the-doctor-is-inand-very-busy" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/312-class-notes-updated-nov-2017"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,720,960/3380_gate.rev.1519759668.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,720,960/3380_gate.rev.1519759668.webp 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,720,960/3380_gate.rev.1519759668.jpg 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,720,960/3380_gate.rev.1519759668.jpg" alt="E&H campus gates on a foggy morning." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,720,960/3380_gate.rev.1519759668.jpg 2x" data-max-w="720" data-max-h="960" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/312-class-notes-updated-nov-2017">Class Notes: Updated Nov. 2017</a></h4></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1487-patsi-trollinger-is-collecting-voices-beyond-the"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1,0,252,251/8961_patsi_Tollinger.rev.1604948279.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1,0,252,251/8961_patsi_Tollinger.rev.1604948279.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/1,0,252,251/8961_patsi_Tollinger.rev.1604948279.jpg" alt="Patsi Barnes Trollinger, E&H Class of 1972" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="251" data-max-h="251" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1487-patsi-trollinger-is-collecting-voices-beyond-the">Patsi Trollinger is Collecting “Voices Beyond the Virus.”</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Patsi Barnes Trollinger (E&H ’72) has never been inhibited about asking questions, and right now she’s asking some really interesting questions. <a href="/live/news/1487-patsi-trollinger-is-collecting-voices-beyond-the" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/310-eamph-dog-brings-home-westminster-honors"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/33,0,519,486/3378_unnamed.rev.1519749000.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/33,0,519,486/3378_unnamed.rev.1519749000.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/33,0,519,486/3378_unnamed.rev.1519749000.jpg" alt="Dog Show Winner: Bob (E&H '69) and Sharon Moreland's dog Louie, a 2-year-old Wireha..." width="345" height="225" data-max-w="486" data-max-h="486" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/310-eamph-dog-brings-home-westminster-honors">E&H Dog Brings Home Westminster Honors!</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Bob Moreland, E&H ’69, has a dog who just placed in the Westminster Dog Show! <a href="/live/news/310-eamph-dog-brings-home-westminster-honors" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1130-gerald-caldwell-isnt-your-typical-boss"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,3,418,422/7383_IMG_0893.rev.1580224605.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,3,418,422/7383_IMG_0893.rev.1580224605.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,3,418,422/7383_IMG_0893.rev.1580224605.jpg" alt="Gerald Caldwell (E&H Class of '90) sipping coffee at The Coffee Shelf." width="345" height="225" data-max-w="418" data-max-h="419" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1130-gerald-caldwell-isnt-your-typical-boss">Gerald Caldwell Isn’t Your Typical Boss</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> But this coffee shop owner has found success in doing things differently. <a href="/live/news/1130-gerald-caldwell-isnt-your-typical-boss" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1101-new-namesame-great-spirit"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/119,0,839,720/7243_gary_2.rev.1576356486.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/119,0,839,720/7243_gary_2.rev.1576356486.webp 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/119,0,839,720/7243_gary_2.rev.1576356486.jpg 2x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/119,0,839,720/7243_gary_2.rev.1576356486.jpg" alt="Curtis Burkett, Gary Jones, and Keith Graham, E&H fraternity brothers, prior to seeing a VT m..." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/119,0,839,720/7243_gary_2.rev.1576356486.jpg 2x" data-max-w="720" data-max-h="720" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1101-new-namesame-great-spirit">New name...same great spirit</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Gary Jones (E&H ’83) had to figure out how to maintain a tradition he started. <a href="/live/news/1101-new-namesame-great-spirit" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1868-zoom-cocktails-eamph-style"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/png" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1920,1080/9901_Screenshot_104.rev.1623091873.png 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1920,1080/9901_Screenshot_104.rev.1623091873.png 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1920,1080/9901_Screenshot_104.rev.1623091873.png" alt="The ITK Zoom cocktail group has gathered monthly during the pandemic." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1920,1080/9901_Screenshot_104.rev.1623091873.png 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1920,1080/9901_Screenshot_104.rev.1623091873.png 3x" data-max-w="1920" data-max-h="1080" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1868-zoom-cocktails-eamph-style">Zoom Cocktails: E&H Style!</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When the pandemic hit in 2020, there were a lot of jokes about the technology learning curve. But in the midst of the stress of learning new tricks, many found out that there was joy to be found in all this new technology.<br/></span></p><a href="/live/news/1868-zoom-cocktails-eamph-style" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1333-got-a-minute-catch-up-with-martin-stiles-eamph-13"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,191,191/8406_Martin_Stiles.rev.1596562399.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,191,191/8406_Martin_Stiles.rev.1596562399.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,191,191/8406_Martin_Stiles.rev.1596562399.jpg" alt="Martin Stiles, Class of 2013" width="345" height="225" data-max-w="191" data-max-h="191" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1333-got-a-minute-catch-up-with-martin-stiles-eamph-13">Got a Minute? Catch up with Martin Stiles, E&H ’13</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Martin Stiles is solving the water puzzle. <a href="/live/news/1333-got-a-minute-catch-up-with-martin-stiles-eamph-13" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>