Forest School Information
Time in the forest sparks joy, curiosity, cooperation and wonder!
Information About Forest School Classes
Making sure your child is dressed appropriately for outdoor play is essential. Dress your child in clothes they can get messy in and bring a change of clothes for after class. Importantly, keep a positive attitude about cold or rainy days because some of the most fun is had in this type of weather!
In fall dress your child in long pants and rain boots, sneakers or waterproof shoes. On wet and/or rainy days please dress children in a waterproof jacket and pants.
In winter wear a base layer of two-piece silk or wool long johns, a second layer of fleece pants and fleece sweater, and a third layer of waterproof pants/ snow pants and a winter jacket. In the rain a full rain suit goes over everything. Finally, wear warm waterproof boots with wool socks, a fleece hat and neck warmer, and waterproof mittens or gloves. This layering method will keep your child nice and warm in most winter weather!
In spring dress your child in long pants and rain boots, waterproof sneakers or water shoes. On wet and/or rainy days please dress children in a waterproof jacket and pants.
Recommended brands are Bogs, Kamik, Columbia, Oakiwear, Gordini, CeLaVi and REI brand. We love a local shop called Biddle and Bop. Check them out!
We have a rule of kindness – toward each other and toward nature. As environmental stewards, we are in the forest to learn about and protect the land.
We also have important safety rules. Our number one rule when we are in the forest is our children must “always see an adult and an adult see me.” Others include only climbing to 2x a child’s height, only throwing light objects, and large sticks for large places.
We have a zero tolerance policy for hitting, grabbing, pushing and name-calling.
We offer families one make up class a season. Partial refunds may be granted up to two weeks after the first class.
If a class is canceled due to weather such as thunder or high wind, then we will make up the class at the end of the session.
Siblings under 2 years old are welcome to join. Older children may join up to two times a season, for $30 a class. Please email first to check availability.
South Mountain Nature School’s Forest School classes take place entirely outdoors, and there are risks, which naturally occur when outside.
We will identify poison ivy and avoid it whenever possible. If you do come in contact with it, wash it with cool, soapy water as soon as possible. More info here.
There are deer ticks and dog ticks in SMR. It is recommended that you check yourself and your child for ticks after every Forest School class. If a tick is found, remove it as soon as possible. More info here.
We will review risks of play at the beginning of class, but it is important to supervise your child during class.
Forest Schools and Forest Kindergartens (preschools) are popping up all over the US. It’s a growing movement in early childhood education that many educators, parents and researchers firmly believe in.
Click on the articles below to read more about the latest research and press.
“Kindergarten, Naturally” in The Atlantic
“We are Wired to be Outside,” National Geographic
“Running Free in Germany’s Outdoor Preschools,” The New York Times
“Flow Learning in a Forest Kindergarten,” Natural Start Alliance
“Children who play outside are more likely to protect nature as adults,” Science Magazine
“Outdoor learning: Education’s next revolution?” Salon.com
“At Nature Preschools, Classes are Outdoors,” Education Week
SMNS is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in education and employment. SMNS does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, employment policies, and other school administered programs and activities.
We meet at different locations within South Mountain Reservation. Check the South Mountain Conservancy for maps here.