What Children Learn at the Forest SchoolAny lesson that can happen in a classroom can also happen outside. We take academic experiences to the next level by immersing students in nature every day. Read on to learn more.
Forest School Open House
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
6:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Meet our teachers and directors. Learn how Trackers Earth's nature-first approach to education cultivates life-long learning, resiliency, and in-depth academic study.
Core subjects include:
Naturalist Studies Reading, writing, life and earth sciences, taxonomy, history, and more.
Plants and Botany Life sciences, ethnography, nutrition, food science, and more.
Wildlife Tracking Ecology, wildlife, empathy, pattern recognition, mapping, and systems awareness.
Forest Craft Handcraft, thoughtfulness, perseverance, innovation, creativity, and resiliency.
Woodworking Math, handcraft, tool safety and care, sustainability, and self-reliance.
Ecology Economics, statistics (for all ages), biology, scientific method, and systems thinking.
Ornithology (birds) Empathy, art, observation, silence, awareness, patience, and listening.
Social Tracking Team leadership, presentation, community skills, economics, and ethics.
Silent Movement Body awareness, balances, self-control and discipline, physical health, 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 Forest School?
Experiential education outdoors immerses students in their learning in ways that traditional education models can’t. With a holistic, learner-centered focus, students become invested in their education and foster a lifelong relationship with the land, their mentors and classmates, and the community. They are allowed and even encouraged, to push their own boundaries through supported risks, teaching them independence, resilience, and perseverance outside of four walls. Instead of stand-alone subjects taught in a vacuum, skills and lessons are woven together, becoming transferrable across environments and connecting students to the world around them.
Forest Skills can be fire-by-friction, wood carving, stone tools, fiber arts, and even campfire cooking, but our studies do not stop there. Through study in forest craft, students build their own experience with our shared human heritage and form a deep-rooted desire for continued learning. As students grow in knowledge and skills, new avenues for exploration open naturally. Outdoor skills aren’t just limited to the more tangible archery and navigation; the natural world also builds self-esteem and confidence, positive relationship development, and creative problem-solving.
We draw inspiration from many educators: Maria Montessori, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ray Mears, Jon Young, Daniel Quinn, Nancy J. Turner, and many others.
Our Grade Divisions
We will be adding grades every year. In Fall 2018 we offer the following grades:
- Grade 1
- Grade 2
- Grade 6, 7, 8
- Grade 9, 10
Some of our classes are mixed grades. Why?
Children are all individuals who learn at their own speed. A 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 move fluidly amongst 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 and the community grow.
Due to the unique developmental needs of very young children, we separate out the Kindergarten class into their own group each year. Additionally, as part of our commitment to keep our class sizes uniquely small, not all classes will have mixed grades. That said, regardless of grades, all classes are part of the larger village and will interact with each other regularly and consistently through lesson collaboration, inter-grade mentorships, and community events.
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 and empower them to choose a direction that serves their community and the greater world. A goal of Forest School is to not just teach students day-to-day, but to engage their innate curiosity to learn and inspire them to seek new avenues of comprehension, turning students into lifelong learners. When subject matter is made relevant through practical and transferable skills, children are immersed and invested in their education, thereby retaining more and pursuing further study.