Forest Friends Kindergarten Program
Forest Friends is a Waldorf-inspired nature-connection kindergarten/preschool program where young children are bathed in rich cultural experiences that are interwoven with the enchantments of the natural world. There is no better learning environment than a magical forest classroom of redwoods, oaks and bays, or a cozy farm garden on the edge of the wild, where our students spontaneously interact with a diversity of wild plants and creatures that are sure to touch hearts and enliven imaginations. Children develop a deep connection to place while they also develop all the skills and abilities that will allow them to thrive as they go forward in life.
A Day With Forest Friends
Curriculum & Environments that Facilitate Optimum Child Development
Children are held in the embrace of the forest as they are introduced to rich language, songs, rhythm, counting, and movement activities during circle time. They have opportunities to engage in nature exploration, purposeful and artful nature crafts, earth skills, and free nature play. Through stories, games and theatre, they develop imagination and come to know and empathize with “all our relations”—the various fascinating and lovable species that inhabit the garden of Earth around us. As they participate in all these ways, they will have optimal opportunities for sensory awakening and motor and brain development.
Forest Friends will also have exposure to foreign languages (Spanish and Portuguese, possibly others as well).
Social & Emotional Learning
Children are gently guided toward embodied presence, and begin to learn to identify and express feelings and needs. They are in the perfect environment to develop naturally and fully as human beings. They will be offered age-appropriate guidance toward the capacities for empathy, integrity, generosity, faithfulness, self-care, and love.
Harmony With the Seasons
Our stories, circles, and hand-crafts change as the seasons change. For instance, we may be inspired by Squirrel to collect and grind acorns into flour in the autumn, respond naturally to Brother Rain by building shelters in the winter, or imitate Robin by making nests in the spring.
The program includes 3-4 seasonal celebrations for the whole family, a birthday honoring ceremony for each child, and educational parent evenings once a month (one parent required). The children also perform at least one play for friends and family.
Farm and Garden Day
When we are in the wild forest during our core program, we learn that "everything gardens." It's true! All species have ways that they interact with other species to contribute to the creation of more abundance and more life. Jays plant oak trees, deer spread seeds, worms create soil, gophers de-compact the soil, bees and butterflies pollinate the flowers, flowers turn into nuts or berries that feed the forest creatures...and the forest thrives! On Farm and Garden day, we learn how humans can contribute to the abundance of life by being good Earth-Tenders. Kelly is also a permaculture teacher (to adults) and we use the principles and practices of permaculture as we implement and nurture a bio-diverse garden that will feed our human and non-human forest friends.
In the event of sustained inclement weather, we have the option of setting up a large stand-up tent and a tent-safe heater, filling it with blankets and pillows and using such a day for crafting, storytelling, and theatre. If there are days that are too windy for this or if there is sustained cold and we feel we need a break from it, we can meet at our garden location where we have indoor access.