South Mountain Nature SchoolSunDMadmin2021-08-25T08:46:57-04:00
Fall Caregiver & Child Classes and After School Classes are OPEN!
Forest Preschool for ages 3-6
Forest School Classes for ages 2-9
Forest School Summer Camp
We follow THE CEDARSONG WAY! SMNS’s Nature Immersion curriculum is “free time in nature, resulting in an intimate, deep and personal connection to the natural world.” Our programs promote social and emotional development, instill confidence and foster independence.
Mary Clair founded South Mountain Nature School in the fall of 2016 after earning her Cedarsong Forest Kindergarten Certification at Cedarsong Nature School on Vashon Island, WA. Mary Clair holds a Secondary Teaching Degree from San Francisco State University. She has over 10 years teaching experience.
Anna Maxwell holds a dual Masters of Teaching in Early Childhood Education and Childhood Education. She has over 10 years of experience teaching kindergarten in the private and public school settings.
Lead Preschool Teacher
Anneliese has been a preschool teacher for over eight years. She earned her Early Childhood Masters in Education from Hunter College in NYC. She also holds a BFA in Art History from Ohio University.
Preschool Assistant Teacher
Elisa Nicoletti developed a love of the South Mountain Reservation over the past few years while hiking and exploring it with her two young daughters. She is an advocate of free play and extensive time outdoors for children of all ages. Elisa holds a Masters’s degree in Criminal Justice and had a lengthy career in criminal justice reform prior to joining SMNS.
Lead Kindergarten Teacher
Isy Brosius is a graduate of Elon University’s School of Education where she earned a BA in Elementary Education and a minor in Environmental Education. Her passion for teaching & the outdoors led her to a semester abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark where she studied Early Childhood Development, and she worked at a Danish forest preschool.
Lead Kindergarten Teacher
Sam is a graduate of Rutgers University’s School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and holds a B.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources and Minors in Biology and Sustainability. Her passion is helping kids discover, learn, play, and explore our natural world. Sam’s favorite things to do in the forest are identifying trees and finding frogs.
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What Our Parents Are Saying
It’s been a little over one month into Forest school and we’ve already seen many good changes in my son which we credit with SMNS.
The most noticeable thing is his footwork, balance, and endurance have changed so much!! It’s amazing! Wyatt has always been really mobile and his first steps were in the form of running. He basically runs everywhere but also did an equal share of tripping and falling down.
Now he still runs but he isn’t falling plus he’s climbing a lot more. While we’ve always gone hiking and I am aware of the importance of uneven, natural surfaces for development, I think the sustained time outside, with a group of his peers, and being challenged through the activities offered by Teachers Annalise and Isy have led to this positive change.
Melissa D., Maplewood, NJ
I wanted to write and let you know how very pleased I am with my daughter’s class! This is the very BEST preschool experience we have had in our family. (I really liked my other children’s schools, but this is so much better!) The teachers are patient, kind, and thoughtful. The documentation is priceless. The whole family looks through the photos and captions to review the events of the day.
She comes home from the forest energized and excited. She plays outside with focus. She is so happy!
Julie P, Maplewood, NJ
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