FAQ

What does a day look like?

You can expect the daily rythm to look a bit like this:



10am Drop off, Sign-in Time, Free Play


10:45am Morning Gathering Circle & Snack

Drumming, Singing and Movement

Question of the Day and Helper Roles

Adventure Plan

Gratitude & Environmental/Sensory Awareness Practice

Group Game or Engaging Activity


11am Hike and Exploration

Child led wanderings

Spontaneous games and activities

Observation and Interaction with nature, plants, creatures, etc.

Foraging


11:45 Sit Spots

Through our program, your child will find and choose a quiet spot in nature to return to each day to build an intimate relationship with a place in the forest and the creatures, plants, and changes that happen within that space. They will share time here observing, drawing, writing, listening, focusing their attention, and sitting in quiet meditation.


12:30pm Site Location, Group Fire Building, Lunch & Story

During our hike, we will discover a spot where everyone wants to settle in for the remainder of the day. Here, we will work together to find a suitable and safe fire location. We will then gather kindling, fire-starter, and wood to get a fire going. Everyone will work together to set up hammocks, unpack supplies, blankets, and backpacks, and ‘make camp’ for the afternoon.

Munching

Making (kid-harvested) tea from our forest findings

We will either read a story, create stories from our experiences, surroundings, and imagination, sing songs, or tell tales 


12:45pm Focused Activities & Exploration

Individual and/or group based activities

Examples may include artistic projects, whittling, foraging, gathering firewood, tracking, survival skills, making tea or food, and so much more!



1:30pm Closing Circle, Hike Back, and Free Play

Sharing and Gratitude Practice

Song and Story


2:00pm Pickup and Farewell




what about "bad weather"

The idea that we shouldn't go outside because of unfavorable weather is really something that we see more here in the United States than anywhere else. If you look at many European countries, you'll find that they have what we would call bad weather more than they have clear skies. If they waited for only the nice days to go outside, they would rarely get out. It is natural and beneficial to be out in the rain, snow, cold and hot days... As they say, "there's no such thing as bad weather.. only bad clothing/gear choices". See the "What to Wear" section for our recommendations. 

However, there are times when the risks outweigh the benefits of being outside such as during lightning storms, severe cold, ice storms, severe wind, etc. and during these times, we will meet at an alternative location.

Why Nature School is the best choice for kids- Web Resources & Research Articles 

Nature school provides a holistic approach with a focus on child-led learning in a relaxed, explorative and cooperative environment. The physical, mental, and emotional benefits of schooling outside are countless. This way of learning fosters and promotes creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, encourages risk and self assessment, independence, reduced stress, social bonding and a deep connection to our beloved planet. 

Furthermore, "Nature is a great equalizer. It provides an intriguing learning platform for learners of all abilities. From children who may struggle with attention challenges and a beautifully full reserve of energy to those looking for a greater academic challenge, all typically find increased enthusiasm for learning in a nature-based environment – leading to happy children and the development of lifelong learners and engaged citizens". (https://theriveredgeschool.org/faqs/)

Since nature school has been so successful in European countries, there has been a lot of scientific research to document the positive outcomes of nature- based learning, some of which you can find in the links below. 

Benefits of Outdoor Education- Natural Resources Foundation WI 

Children & Nature- Peer Reviewed Studies 


when & where do we meet?

OAKS (ANY AGE W/ CAREGIVER)

FRIDAY'S  10-1pm

BALD MOUNTAIN STATE PARK & VARIOUS OTHER TRAILS IN THE OAKLAND COUNTY AREA

CEDARS (Ages 3-8)

TUESDAY- THURSDAY 10-2pm

BALD MOUNTAIN STATE PARK

Pricing 

Our Family Friday "Oaks" program is $10 per family/per session. 

Our Monday- Thursday "Cedars" program is a sliding scale based on # of days attending and income. See the programs page for more tuition information. 

Please see our events calendar/sign- up for summer camps and pricing for miscellaneous  programs.

What About safety?

Safety is of the utmost importance to us and for this reason, all teachers & leaders are First Aid/CPR certified and trained in risk assessment. We always keep a first aid kit on hand and teach the kids about the things to look out for while in the woods. Of course, injury comes with the territory.

We strive to maintain a healthy balance of overall safety while allowing the children to take risks. It is both physically and emotionally stimulating for children to take risks. Children often prefer risky play where their abilities and physical strength are tested. It not only empowers them but it also teaches them risk assessment and healthy independence. We encourage this important behavior by helping kids make self-observation and tune into their own senses. An example of how we would encourage risky play while maintaining safety would be: if a child was picking up a rock and about to throw it, we might say "before you throw that rock, what do you need to look out for?" or if a child was climbing a tree and got stuck, we might help them by saying "try moving your foot to that thick branch". The idea is to give guidance without undermining their innate abilities. 

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES 

If you are interested in volunteer opportunities please contact us. Some opportunities may include:

GEAR

We strongly recommend children come in clothes that you don't mind them getting exceptionally dirty in. Also, please remember that it is better to be over dressed for the weather than under. 

The list below is our recommendation but you don't need to go out and buy everything brand new all at once.. there are many gently used on Facebook marketplace and we may have extras to lend. Although, good quality outdoor gear is a great investment as many will last multiple seasons as hand-me-downs. The Outdoor School Shop has great clothing and resources such as this layering guide .

ALL SEASONS CHECKLIST

SPRING/FALL CHECKLIST

WINTER CHECKLIST

SUMMER CHECKLIST

Ova Program (pine group) vs. self pay/drop off program (cedar group)

Wondering how these two programs differ?

The OVA program is state-funded making it accessible for those that can't afford the self-pay option. Because Michigan is a school of choice state, those living outside of Oxford are able to take advantage of this program. 

This class has a weekly online component as well as a weekly 2-hour in-person class that meets at our Bald Mountain Rec Area location in Lake Orion. This program is available to kids K-5th grade and has a 5:1 child to teacher ratio with a maximum class size of 10).


Any other questions, please don't hesitate to reach out!