What Children Learn at the Forest SchoolWe believe that any lesson that can happen in a classroom can also happen outside. The value of Outdoor School experiences has been proven time and again. We take that experience to the next level by immersing students in nature every day. Read on to learn more.
Core subjects include:
Naturalist Studies Teaches reading, writing, life and earth sciences, taxonomy, history and more.
Plants and Botany Teaches life sciences, ethnography, nutrition, food science and more.
Wildlife Tracking Teaches ecology, wildlife, empathy, pattern recognition, mapping and systems awareness.
Forest Craft Teaches hand craft, thoughtfulness, innovation, creativity and resiliency.
Woodworking Teaches math, handcraft, tool safety, tool care, sustainability and self-reliance.
Ecology Teaches economics, statistics (for all ages), biology, scientific method and systems thinking.
Ornithology (birds) Teaches empathy, art, observation, silence, awareness and listening.
Social Tracking Teaches team leadership, presentation, community skills, economics and ethics.
Silent Movement and Martial Arts Teaches body awareness, balances, physical health, self-control and respect.
We cultivate intelligence, awareness and adaptability through the art and science of tracking. A tracker reads tracks like letters on the ground, stringing them into the stories of the animals who left them. By learning to survive and live with nature, students develop agile thinking, planning and research skills, creativity and a profound awareness of nature and systems thinking.
Why Outdoor Skills?
Fire-by-friction, wood-carving, stone tools, even outdoor cooking: Some call these "primitive skills," we call them Primary Skills. They form the foundation of all science and technology that exists today. As students grow in knowledge and skills, new avenues for exploration open naturally. Just as reading and math follow a logical progression from simple to complicated, so does science and technology.
By starting with Forest Craft and weaving it through our curriculum at all ages, students build their experience with our shared human heritage while also fostering a lifelong relationship with the land-grounding them in a wider story of our Earth and human heritage. We draw inspiration from many educators: Maria Montessori, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ray Mears, Jon Young, Daniel Quinn, Nancy J. Turner and many others.
A kindergarten student may learn about engineering and thermodynamics through building a shelter, or explore pattern recognition by mapping local bird movements. An elementary age student might practice writing and communication by writing their own field guide to local edible plant species. A middle school student may research hand-crafted boats through history and develop their own design using AutoCAD… then build it.
Our goal is to prepare our students for any path in life, empower them to choose a direction that serves their community and the greater world.
Our Grade Divisions
We will be adding grades every year. In Fall 2017, our Kindergarten class will move into first grade, with limited spaces for new students to join the class. Fall 2017 will also see our first sixth grade class. Our 2016 - 2017 Kindergarten class transitions to 1st Grade the following school year. We will combine classes in developmentally appropriate ways as our school grows to best meet the needs of all students.
Why mixed ages?
Children are all individuals who learn at their own speed. One child who may move more quickly through math or tracking lessons may also benefit from additional support in reading or handcraft. In a multi-grade classroom, students fluidly move between peer groups without stigma and the teacher can collaborate with them to find their optimal learning pace.
A multi-age class also allows a child to progress from the role of a younger learner to a more confident leader who also can help others. As children grow in independence they are able to test their new skills by guiding and teaching what they know to other, younger students. (Please note that due to the unique developmental needs of very young children, we do separate out the Kindergarten year class into their own group.)