2018-2019 FOrest preschool Program for ages 3-6
This program is full for the 2018-2019 school year. Please join our email list to be notified when enrollment opens again.
Philosophy and Teaching Style
South Mountain Nature School's Forest Preschool Program nurtures children's innate curiosity about the natural world. We believe that children learn best though play and that the natural world is the best playground, sparking joy, curiosity, cooperation and wonder. When children spend time outdoors they quickly engage their imaginations, move their bodies, ask questions, and make insightful observations. Research continues to support that when kids connect with nature they are happier and healthier.
All of SMNS's classes follow The Cedarsong Way, a forest kindergarten philosophy created by the esteemed Erin Kenny of Cedarsong Nature School near Seattle, WA. Cedarsong was the first forest kindergarten in the US. The Cedarsong Way honors the whole child and empowers them to be respectful of themselves and others while cultivating a deep love for the natural world.
Several key features distinguish our early childhood education program:
Total commitment to all outdoor, all the time nature immersion. Nature Immersion is defined by Erin Kenny at Cedarsong Nature School as “unstructured free time in nature resulting in an intimate, deep and personal connection to the natural world
Interest-led, Child-driven Flow Learning
Reggio Emilia-inspired Emergent Curriculum
Inquiry-based Teaching Style
Small Class Size, 1:3 Teacher to Child Ratio
Exposure to Moderate Risk
Classes meet in all weather in the South Mountain Reservation in Essex County, NJ. We keep a small student to teacher ratio of 3:1 to ensure all children are safe and supported. In the case of extreme weather such as high winds and lightning we will take trips to the Public Library.
The yearlong class meets Monday through Friday from 9 am - 12 pm. Families may choose to enroll 1 day or more per week. Our program is 100% committed to being outside in all weather. Rain drops, flurries, sunshine and fog all make for great fun. Full body rain suits are included with tuition.
2018 School Year Tuition
One day per week: $1950
Two days per week: $3900
Three days per week: $5800
Four days per week: $7700
Five days per week: $9600
After you submit your enrollment application, you will be contacted to arrange a visit to the school in South Mountain Reservation. If accepted into the program, then you will be asked to fill out and sign an Enrollment Contract. At that time, a non-refundable registration fee equal to one month's tuition is required to reserve a place in the class and will be applied to your last month's tuition. A 5% discount will be given if tuition is paid in full.