Where does forest school take place?
We meet on local public and private wooded locations. We share privately specific location information with parents who are serious about enrolling their children.
What type of clothes or shoes are needed?
In late fall/winter children need boots, rain gear or rain suit, jacket or coat, and waterproof mittens. They always need a full change of clothes. On cool days within 3 days of the latest rain, children really benefit from wearing a one piece rain suit for mud, mud puddle play, and creek visits. Layers in cold weather are the key to comfort, especially thermal underwear, hats, and mittens. Long pants and long sleeve shirts and a hat are recommended year-round, along with water shoes in the summer for creek visits. Clothes should be labeled, and loose enough for independent dressing when wet. Mask wearing is required until most children are vaccinated, and an extra mask recommended.
What else do the children need to bring?
Each child needs a back pack, a healthy snack, and lunch if coming in the morning. Extra clothes should be stored in a large water-proof bag. A hand towel and personal hand sanitizer are recommended.
What do you do about the bathroom?
Diaper and potty breaks for our youngest participants are provided. We have a camper/RV potty that gets cleaned several times a day. Children are taught to use it on their own.
Is there more information available on your school's staff?
Sheri Grace has a PhD in early childhood education with an emphasis in language and literacy development, especially of children from diverse language backgrounds. We sometimes have an intern who helps at the school, while studying child development. We have hired and hire on an ongoing basis, staff with training in child development, child psychology, counseling, or early childhood education.
What is the school schedule -- does this continue through the winter?
We do continue in the winter. This is why dressing warmly is so important. Generally, we follow the public school schedule, but provide camps during school breaks.
What is the inclement weather policy? And/or what are the "extreme" weather thresholds?
We hold school unless it is thundering, the wind chill is in the teens, the roads are unsafe to get to the park, or there are tornado hurricane. or flash flood warnings. If it is very windy, with 20mph winds, we play in the open fields, not in the woods.
Will this program help my child be ready of school or help with academic skills?
While we are a play-based program, and do not force academic work on children, we embed activities in our programs that hone language, literacy, socio-emotional, physical, and STEM skill development. We are intentional about our interactions with the children as they play, We join, guide, and extend their play, and we ensure their unstructured play is safe and enriching. We provide Nature Tutoring for Nature Explorers who need academic support, if requeststed.
Do you serve children with disabilities?
Yes, we are an inclusive program. As long as children can get to and stay in base camp, we can meet their developmental needs.
How much does it cost?
The charge per day for Nature Preschool/Forest Kindergarten is $25 per morning, and $20 per afternon for Nature Explorers, but the amount expected depends on your ability to pay.