We support learning in the most natural, developmentally appropriate way possible. We are hands on and into messy, exploratory play! All programs are child led with teachers to guide the children into deeper exploration. We maintain a familiar daily rhythm to provide a safe, grounding, and general structure from which the children freely play. As the children spend time in the same forest classroom each week they develop a sense of connectedness, mastery of environment, and awareness of changes in the forest. This awareness of seasonal and weather changes leads to great child-led, impromptu experiences!
While interacting with nature, children’s questions and observations provide the roadmap for short and long term investigations and projects that integrate math, science, and literacy. Children become motivated storytellers and writers as they document their observations of a robin’s nest. They use math in meaningful ways as they predict and record the number of days it will take for a butterfly to emerge from a pupa, for example.
Here are some ways children learn math and science through play in the forest:
• Compare sizes of sticks needed to build a fort
• Measure how much water we need to make runny vs solid mud
• Sort nature materials by type/ color/ texture
• Count critters we see in the forest
• Make different size piles of leaves (brown and green)
• Problem solve how to set beams and ropes to make slopes and pulleys
Young children learn best through purposeful and productive play. Outdoor play experiences such as building a fort or digging a channel between two puddles provide children with opportunities to practice the social and intellectual skills of planning, problem-solving, decision-making, and collaboration.
Building fairy houses under the canopy of the oak trees, turning over logs to look for worms, and harvesting fresh vegetables for snacks from our gardens are just a few of the ways that children engage all their senses.
The beauty of the forest and woods inspire joyful self-expression and creativity through the arts. Natural materials are incorporated into painting, drawing, weaving and sculptural experiences that allow children to visually convey their ideas and emotions.
PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE A SAMPLE LESSON PLAN.
We offer both full day and half day drop-off options:
Five-day from 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
HALF DAY (LIMITED AVAILABILITY)
Two, three, and five-day from 8:00 am - noon includes breakfast and snacks
Two, three, and five-day from 2:30 pm - 6:00 pm includes snacks
This is the rhythm of an average day:
8:00am Greetings and Breakfast
Children hang up items and sign in at the table, then settle in on the carpet or participate in prepared activities until all children have arrived.
Light breakfast is served.
8:30am Circle and Free Play
Two or three messages about our day, theme of the week, or things to remember will be discussed with the children through stories and message boards. We may focus on a themed book where children will be be free to recreate the book's adventures during their outdoor play.
This time is tailored to fit the current needs of our children. Some days free play may involve working as a small group at the table. Other days we may take part in a large motor activity or a game that we work on together.
Children use the items in our classroom and direct their play. The classroom space consists of the toy area (manipulative items), writing area, play kitchen, sensory bins, block area, book area, the art area, and the nature spot. During this time, children learn to work collaboratively, problem solve with materials, gain conflict resolution skills, teachers spend time with individual children building relationships and assisting the children in their most natural state of learning: play.
9:00am Dress for Outdoors and Outside Time
We will spend time outside every day learning through play exploring in Forest Park, using chalk, large motor painting, running, tossing and kicking balls, digging in the dirt and hiking the trails
Children recall the things that they did during Work Time through a variety of recall activities. This is also a time to reflect on the things that they enjoy and to talk through any other situations that may have occurred that they would like to discuss.
10:15am Snack and Songs/Stories
We will enjoy snack outside in fresh air on our picnic blankets, sing songs and share stories.
11:00am Cleanup and Return to School or Half Day Pickup
Children are responsible and work together with teachers in the clean up process.
12:00noon Lunch (Full Day programs only)
***Nap and Rest Time***
Afternoon Session (see descriptions above)
2:30pm Dress for Outdoors and Outside Time
2:45pm Circle and Story Time / Half Day Participants Meeting Point
3:30pm Snack and Songs/Stories
4:30pm Cleanup and Return to Home Base
5:00pm Free Play
5:30pm Cleanup and Farewell
Seasonal activities are incorporated into our programs.