Forest Friends PreSchool Program
Forest Friends is a Waldorf-inspired nature-connection preschool program where young children are bathed in rich cultural experiences that are interwoven with the enchantments of the natural world. Forest Friends is now offering its preschool program at the beautiful Bothin Girl Scout Campus, in collaboration with the Heartwood Community. Kelly McMenimen is the lead teacher.
In this program, children spend a great deal of time outside, connecting deeply with the natural world in garden, field, and forest. Our weekly rhythm includes gardening, cooking, painting or coloring, stories, songs, rhythm activities, crafting, games, campfires, and of course, lots of free play in nature.
A Day With Forest Friends
Arrival—Good Work, Play
Morning Circle—Songs, Poems, Circle Games
Exploration/Journey to Playsite
Free Play in the Forest, Crafting
Journey back, Closing Song
In the Forest Friends preschool program children:
*experience daily and weekly rhythms that help them settle into the natural unfolding of their optimal development.
*spend ample time in garden, field, and forest--with abundant opportunities to play, move, explore, experiment, discover, and delight in the world
*relax into a safe cultural container, where expectations are clear and emotional and social guidance is offered by teachers
*grow their will and their joy in good work, through gardening, cooking, chicken-tending, woodworking, and helping build campfires
*build a strong foundation of oral literacy and brain development through listening to and enacting stories, singing songs, and reciting poetry with movements
*develop fine motor skills and creative capacity through painting, coloring, and crafting
*learn about and become friends with many plants and animals as well as with each other
*discover and celebrate the change of seasons
*become part of a community that shares both laughter and tenderness, delight and moments of reverence
Forest Friends students will also have exposure to foreign languages (Spanish and Portuguese, possibly others as well).
Social & Emotional Learning
Forest Friends students are supported by teachers and environments that nurture their holistic, balanced development as human beings. Children are gently guided toward embodied presence, and begin to learn to identify and express feelings and needs in age-appropriate ways. They are immersed in cultural practices that begin to nurture and draw forth the capacities for empathy, integrity, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, self-care, and love. Teachers model behavior that is truly worthy of imitation.
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).