Where does forest school take place?

We meet on local public and private wooded locations. Current sites include Winston Salem City Parks (Forsyth County) and a pending site at Oak Ridge Town Park (Guilford County). 

Many questions can be answered in our Parent Handbook. 

What  type of clothes or shoes are needed? 

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”

 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, including shoes.  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 peanut-free, 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/potty-training?

We have a camper/RV potty that gets cleaned several times a day. Children are taught to use it on their own. For children who are still potty-training, parents are to send diapers, wipes, gloves, and a changing pad each day. Children must at least be in the process of toilet-training to be dropped off.

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.  Our staff have training in child development, child psychology, counseling, environmental education, recreational therapy, or early childhood education. The program is always growing, so please contact us if you would like to submit a resume. We occasionally also have interns help at the school, while studying child development, so are open to college students as well. 

What is the school schedule -- does this continue through the winter? 

Generally, we follow the public school schedule, but provide camps during school breaks. We do continue in the winter. This is why dressing warmly is so important.

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, heat index at our basecamp is 100, 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, self-help, 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 requested for an additional fee.

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. We are able to meet the needs of children with ASD, speech/language impairments, intellectual impairments, and some motor impairments.

How much does it cost? Are scholarships or payment plans available?

Please see each specific program for rates. Program registration is for an entire semester, and tuition is typically paid in advance on a monthly or semester basis. A sibling discount of 10% is available. Piedmont Forest School aims to provide outdoor opportunities for all children, no matter the ability to pay. Please contact the director to discuss alternative payment options. We hope to be able to offer scholarships in the future.  

Interested in applying for a lead, assistant, staff or volunteer position with the PFS? Please send a resume and 2 references to shgrace@piedmontforestschool.org  Only candidates who have or will receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be considered.