At Arden Forest School, we use a purposeful and comprehensive approach to education that encompasses the growth of each child as an individual and social being. This approach for the “whole child” is created through the flexible, fluid combination of traditional and progressive educational methods based on the need, abilities, and interests of each individual child. Our group lessons are carefully crafted to honor all learning styles in the classroom through presentation of a variety of activities, and through the use of “living books and materials” that bring learning to life and encourage academic and cultural literacy.
Mixed Age Classes 1st-2nd grades, 3rd-5th grades, 6tth – 8th grades
(class structure may vary depending on enrollment needs)
In the first years of school, children not only encounter the elemental foundations of academia, but whilst doing so, they also form a core sense of identity and begin to develop their attitudes/feelings toward the world around them. This holistic foundation of learning sets the stage for their future presence in the world. We strive to encourage children to grow in all ways in order to encourage this presence to be one of academic and personal strength and wonder.
Our classroom time is academically focused on all core subjects, and our methodologies feature mixed age groups where the lessons and curricula honor the unique learning styles and developmental pacing of our students. We also offer related arts that are classically applicable and therapeutic to the human spirit: crafting, gardening, mindfulness, Latin, and the arts.
As much as possible, our children work, play, and discover in our large outdoor classrooms and peripheral forest/creek area. Nature study is inherently intertwined with all subject areas, as human beings are inextricably connected to the earth. As such, we consciously endeavor to offer a curricular experience here that fosters a child’s relationship to the earth and its inhabitants.
We recognize the value of unstructured, mixed-age play for our children, (called “Masterful Inactivity” by renowned educator and philosopher Charlotte Mason) and the critical role it holds in healthy development. Accordingly, unstructured play is interwoven with structured learning time on a daily basis.
Our Forest Kindergarten program nurtures each child’s natural sense of awe and wonder within a warm, understanding environment conducive to their growing social needs and awareness of self and others. Through a daily and weekly routine which encourages learning and play outside as much as possible, we also honor the gifts that learning inside the classroom can provide. Children learn by osmosis of their surroundings, and thus teachers strive to introduce meaningful activities to the class, as well as encourage the unfolding of knowledge as it emerges through nature and personal interaction. Daily activities in the class may consist of story time, seasonal crafts (through use of natural materials as much as possible), arts, phonics, math, and classroom responsibilities as contributing group members and individuals. Daily activities outside of the class includes unstructured play, nature walks, nature study, gardening, bush crafting, and the arts.
Schedule and Classes
Daily Schedule Sample (Monday, Tuesday and Thursday)
Our days begin at 8:00 a.m. and flow into learning about core subjects- reading, writing, math, science, history, and Latin. Students receive individual tutoring each week to meet their unique academic needs. Our learning is centered around spending as much time as possible in nature, as well as honoring children's equally important needs for social emotional engagement and creative play. Dismissal is at 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday Forest/Related Arts Day
Our forest day begins at 8:00 a.m. and features concentrated learning in gardening, crafting, the arts, and mindfulness, Our learning is centered around spending as much time as possible in nature, as well as honoring children's equally important needs for social emotional engagement and creative play. Dismissal is at 2:30 p.m.
We are proud partners with our local 4-H Chapter! We have special, bi-weekly lessons in STEM related science, forestry, health, and personal growth facilitated by Lillian Sanchez, and we look forward to growing with this organization each year.