Frequently Asked Questions
Notes from the Field
What about inclement weather?
Forest school sessions are intended to take place in any and all safe weather conditions. This is possible by utilizing specific clothing and gear appropriate to the conditions. Children enjoy playing in the rain (in waterproof gear!) and bundling up for a snow day. Additionally, meeting and learning together in all conditions helps children become seasonally aware, adaptable to change, and develop resiliency. Our teachers monitor weather conditions daily and take appropriate steps to maintain the comfort and safety of the children, including utilizing our natural resources (think water play and campfires) as needed on any given day.
What about Academics?
The emergent learning method utilizes children's interests and experiences in the natural world to build a relevant curriculum and to spark curiosity and wonder in each child. Children thrive academically when their learning is connected to their own interests and inquiry. Nature provides a context for deep, authentic learning and community building.
Our faith is important to us. Will my child be comfortable in your program? Our program is secular, there is no ideology or doctrine. We embrace a spirit of diversity and inclusion for children and families of all faiths. Our program is focused on nature immersion and experiencing joy and authentic learning in the natural world.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of a mixed-age environment?
Mixed age learning is a new concept to many families and differs from the traditional model of learning among peers of the same age. However, mixed-age learning has been shown to have many benefits for children of all ages. Competiton is largely eliminated in a mixed-age environment, leading to increased self-esteem and self-efficacy. The pace of mixed-age learning is highly individualized and children are recognized for their unique abilities and contributions. Mixed-age learning allows older children to mentor younger children, increasing their competence while giving younger children a sense of belonging. Mixed-age environments do have some challenges, which can be overcome with the careful attention of teachers. These include ensuring that each child (particularly older learners) is meeting their potential and monitoring the confidence levels of younger learners. Overall, mixed-age learning environments have been shown to be both socially and academically beneficial to learners of all ages.
Is learning outside safe?
The Forest School concept is rooted in the idea of "supported risk-taking." Children in Forest School are able to take natural risks in nature (such as climbing a tree, crossing a creek, etc.) while under the supervision of teachers. Supported risk-taking allows children to explore their boundaries, develop healthy risk assessment skills, and experience the rewards and resiliency that come from challenges.
A Day at Forest School
Our Daily Rhythm
While no two days are exactly the same, and our routine is flexible based on weather conditions and other factors, our days at Forest School follow a predictable rhythm throughout the seasons:
9:00 am: Arrival
9:15 am: Free Play/Movement
9:45 am: Morning/Opening Circle
10:00 am: Snack
10:15 am: Free Play (Explorers, ages 4-6), Lesson or Project (Adventures, ages 7-10 and Trailblazers, ages 11-14)
11:30 am: Lunch
12:15 pm: Free Play (All)
1:00 pm: Read Aloud (Explorers, ages 4-6) and Independent Reading Time (Adventurers, ages 7-10, Trailblazers, ages 11-14)
1:30 pm: Free Play (Explorers, ages 4-6). Lesson or Project: Adventurers (ages 7-10) and Trailblazers (ages 11-14)
2:30 pm: Clean Up/Pack Up
2:45 pm: Afternoon/Closing Circle
3:00 pm: Dismissal