“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”-Albert Einstein
We’re delighted to offer our families a new outdoor, experiential curriculum. Our curriculum is based in the “forest school” movement.
NATURE PROGRAM at SVLC
The “forest school”-based nature program we offer is informed by our mission statement of inclusivity and service to families throughout the Verde Valley. Guiding principles for daily operations include:
- Immersive learning opportunities in nature every day.
- Observing and collecting data to track each child’s progression of learning.
- Low student to teacher ratios.
how it works…
Activities are seamlessly built into the day, as students regularly run, climb, dig, carry, balance, and jump.
Imagine digging your hands into our organic garden, building a bat house and map-making.
Feel a sense of community as the garden’s bounty is shared at snack time.
Process-based art and music activities connect with the natural world and open the door to cultural studies.
Students may learn about Native American dye plants, pick vegetables, and finally create a textile art piece.
Rainwater harvesting allows for hands on scientific exploration.
Learning about local flora and fauna, soil studies and the unique topography of the high desert.
Enjoy the fostered sense of earth stewardship and physical activity.
The forest school movement began in Denmark circa 1950, and quickly spread throughout Europe. The movement has been embraced worldwide and is a viable curriculum option supported by a growing body of research. Arizona state curriculum standards are met and exceeded in the outdoor classroom. Many projects involve mathematics, fine motor skills, themed language lessons , high-quality children’s literature and storytelling, ecological literacy, and a sense of community as the garden’s bounty is shared at snack time.
With a collective forty years of working with children and families in educational settings, Ms. Shara and Ms. Jess are passionate educators aiming to inspire lifelong learning one child at a time.
Learning is a child’s birthright and a natural process. We invite your child to learn in the most natural setting possible – the great outdoors!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a forest program?
It is an experiential learning model that occurs primarily outdoors through every season.
Who can participate?
The nature program is part of our school, an early childhood program.
How much does it cost?
This program has a special scholarship program that is available to fully fund tuition for all qualifying families.
What are the benefits to learning outdoors?
A wealth of forest program research reveals optimal learning outcomes including: resilience, increased motor skills, biophilia, and increased cognitive performance. Decreased stress levels in students and adult forest program practitioners have also been documented.
Will my child be outside all day?
Students will spend most of their school day outdoors. We will have a semi-enclosed structure for group learning that requires a surface, plus the flexibility built into each day to join the SVLC preschoolers indoors if our high desert biome dictates the need to do so.
How are learning outcomes measured and reported?
Consistent adult observation and data collection impact learning outcomes. Digital assessment tools are utilized to track student progress. Parent/teacher conferences are offered throughout the school year and include detailed progress reports.
Does my child require special equipment to participate?
It is required that children arrive each day fully prepared with weather appropriate attire. Students may encounter hot, cold, windy, or wet weather in the nature program. A labeled water bottle, hat, and closed toed shoes are year round necessities. Pack 2-3 additional outfits per week with the expectation that your child will play hard, work hard, and get dirty.
Is the quality of the curriculum comparable to traditional schooling and will my child be prepared for kindergarten and beyond?
Our program is designed to meet the developmental needs of all types of learners, with an emphasis on tactile hands-on projects and activities. With a combined forty years of teaching experience, our team has a deep understanding of best practices in the field of education. Your child’s curriculum includes traditional school subjects such as mathematics, science, geography, history, language arts, music, and art. All subjects are taught in accordance with state learning standards, thus preparing your child for entry into other educational settings of your choosing. Our nature program offers the best of both worlds: tradition and innovation in nature.