What is forest school?
The American Forest Kindergarten Model defines a forest school as an "inspirational process, that offers ALL learners regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees."
Why a forest school?
International research, The American Forest Kindergarten Model and The Cedarsong Way support the importance of unstructured play in an outdoor environment and attribute it as being positively related to a child's cognitive, social and emotional well being and physical development.
Which educational models inspire Urban Woods Forest School?
Urban Woods Forest School follows an interest-led approach which is naturally STEAM (STEM plus Art) learning. Our program also utilizes a nature based art curriculum specifically designed for children 2-6 ages. Our daily rhythm is inspired by Waldorf and Reggio Emilia.
Are you an all year program?
Our program is 10-months and runs from mid August through the end of May. For caregivers seeking an all year program, we anticipate offering summer camp in 2019 for ages 3 - 10 years.
What if it rains?
We dance and sing! In our parent handbook we provide a list of clothing recommendations and items required to attend our school. Boots, waterproof pants and a jacket will keep your child warm and comfortable on wet days.
Are meals provided?
Children and families have very differing diets and allergies and for this reason Urban Woods Forest School does not provide any meals. We have found that children eat more, staying full longer, if they are allowed to eat foods that are normal and comforting to them. Caregivers are required to pack one meal for their child to be eaten in the forest. Since children need to eat every couple of hours to sustain a constant energy level and we are a 3 hour program, we will break for a meal around 10:45 am. Children should be well fed prior to forest school and parents should expect children to be ready for another meal after pickup. We also encourage the use of lightweight reusable containers and prohibit foods that do not nourish the body (i.e. candy, chocolate, cupcakes, etc.).
How is staff vetted?
All leaders and co-leaders of Urban Woods Forest School are required to have Livescan or Trustline clearance, Adult and Pediatric CPR, and leaders are Wilderness First Aid Certified. Additionally, experience working with children in a school, program or outdoor setting is required. Respect for nature, knowledge of local flora and fauna, and willingness to follow our interest-led approach to learning is also required.
Where is Urban Woods Forest School Located?
Forest kindergarten is held at a public park within the City of Fullerton. The location has bathrooms, covered shelter if needed, green grass and an abundance of shade trees for warm days. For the safety and privacy of enrolled families, we do not list our exact location on our webpage. Please contact us for additional information. Child/Caregiver classes and The Forest Family gatherings are held at various public parks and trails throughout Fullerton, La Habra and Orange County. Each series lists the meeting location on the registration page.
Can I bring my older/younger child to the Child/Caregiver Classes?
Our classes are specifically tailored to the developmental stages and needs of your Explorer or Adventurer. For this reason, our classes would not be appropriate for children outside of the age range. However, infants in carriers are welcome in our Little Explorer and Adventurer class. The leaders at Urban Woods Forest School strive to be inclusive of all family needs and remain open to discussing any arrangement that may be suitable for your family while also considering the experiences of others.
How is Urban Woods Forest School different from other schools I might be exploring for my child?
Our approach to learning creates a welcoming environment where children know they are being heard, understood and responded to respectfully. Modeling the behaviors we wish to see in children develops mutual respect and group bonding between peers and leaders. The interest-led philosophy to learning allows for a child's individual interest and development to progress at a pace that is both comforting and challenging. Lastly, our commitment to a full immersion outdoor early childhood program fosters all aspects of development, preparing your child for every stage of life.