“If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow. The years of early childhood are the time to prepare the soil.”
-Rachel Carson (1965)
Farm & Forest School is an introduction to learning about the natural world through forest exploration and life on the farm. At Nature Connect we foster a child’s sense of wonder and play through games, songs and stories. Hands-on lessons in our living classroom develop the whole child through gardening, animal care, mindfulness and free play with curiosity and community as our guide. Crafts using materials found in the woods and on the farm help to develop fine motor skills and an appreciation for our natural resources. We lay the foundation for a love of learning through outdoor experiences that encourage a child's physical, mental and social growth. Learn about our curriculum and teaching philosophies here.
Financial aid is available for all programs. Please register for program before applying for financial aid.
Applications for financial aid are due one month prior to program start date.
What makes us unique?
100% Outdoors - We spend all of our class time outdoors, unless there is severe weather. This means we get dirty and even play in the rain! We love exploring in the woods and at the farm and learning about the beautiful place where we live. If we do need an indoor space, we have a classroom where we can continue our nature study.
Small Class Size and Low Teacher to Student Ratio - Our maximum class size is 10 students, and our teacher to student ratio is one:five (or better), which means individual attention and care to each child's needs.
Highly-Trained Staff who Love what they Do - We hire the highest quality teachers in the area because we know who is with your child is incredibly important. Our teachers are well-trained, trustworthy, and experienced caregivers who love the work they do. Nature Connect provides ongoing staff development and opportunities for continuing education.
Room for Creative Play - We believe that children are meant to play and use their imaginations. This is what makes childhood special. Our staff see themselves as facilitators of the children's experience, holding the space for them to explore, learn, and play in the outdoors.
Physical Activity - We run, jump, slide, balance, and climb all throughout the day. Nature is the best playground! Children develop their physical capabilities and learn to be resilient in our classes. If the children need rest, we certainly make space for that to happen as well. Whatever the child's energy level, we work with it.
Flexible, Nature-Based, Child-led Curriculum - Our curriculum is focused on our local environment and the plants and animals that live here. If we find a turtle in the woods or stumble upon a mushroom, that becomes our lesson. We believe learning happens the most when children have that "spark" in their eye. While we intentionally plan our days, we are also willing to toss out our "plan" for what we discover in nature. Read more about our curriculum and philosophies here.
Inquiry Learning - We love children's innate sense of curiosity and we want to foster that. Therefore, we encourage the children to ask lots of questions. We then discover the answers or have fun wondering together.
What does a day at Farm & Forest School look like?
9:00am - Welcome and Drop-off
9:15am - Opening Circle: Nature Songs, Movement Activities, Sharing Gratitudes
9:30am - Snack & Story Time
9:45am - Bathroom Break
10:00am - Morning Activity: May include working in the garden, doing a nature craft, learning about a local plant or animal, or playing an active, nature-oriented game
10:30am - Nature Exploration (Hike, Wander & Play): Wander the woods and farm; outdoor play may include free play, shelter building or working in the mud kitchen, practice sitting still in nature
11:15am - Bathroom Break: Change into clean, dry clothes if needed.
11:30am - Lunch
12:00pm - Animal Care: May include prepping feed or making treats, animal husbandry & enrichment
12:30pm - Afternoon Activity: May include nature crafts, games and free play
12:45pm - Closing Circle: Nature Songs & Celebration
1:00pm - Goodbye and Pick-up