Students in middle school are ready to think about their connection to the wider world. They learn most effectively by using all their senses and immersing themselves in their work. They are most successful while developing and researching interdisciplinary study projects. Students learn to healthfully test their capacities and develop their own autonomy as a lifelong learner.
Forest School Virtual Open House
Attend our Virtual Forest School Open House. Meet and talk with our teachers and Principal through video conference. Learn how our nature-first approach to education cultivates lifelong learning and resiliency.
Middle School Curriculum
At Portland Forest School, academic subjects are always taught using real experiences in the outdoors. We use state standards as a starting point and go beyond them with practical, hands-on curriculum. Geometry and mathematics are taught through carpentry, navigation, or doing a statistical analysis of animal populations. Reading and writing development continues through intensive natural history research and self-directed learning projects. History and prehistory can be a journey through sociology and evolutionary biology.
Our middle school students grow into articulate and thoughtful researchers able to delve into any topic they choose. Middle school level skills include:
- The ability to research, plot, and implement interdisciplinary study projects.
- Outdoor safety, wilderness medicine, navigation with mapping, guiding, and outdoor leadership
- Animal tracking, sensory awareness, and reasoning and logic.
- Botany, seasonal cycles, and geological science through biology, natural history, foraging, wildcrafting, and restorative gardening (permaculture).
- Ecology, systems thinking, and entrepreneurial strategy for sustainable livelihoods.
- Wilderness survival and forest craft skills such as fire by friction, shelter construction, bow making, and water—skills for full outdoor immersion.
- Folk skills such as green woodworking, carpentry, tool use, and blacksmithing.
- Intensive sensory awareness and movement arts for a lifetime of personal health and fitness.
- The thoughtful exploration of individual purpose, community responsibilities, and healthy livelihood (organizational and business skills).
Overnights and Expeditions
Our middle school class embarks on several overnight expeditions throughout the year. We visit extraordinary sites around the Pacific Northwest. These trips are designed to encourage independence and competence as well as expand upon long-term projects.