Program Requirements &

Rhythm of the Forest School Day

"Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts."

                                                                      -Rachel Carson

In order to be eligible for our Forest School program, Treeschoolers MUST be:

  • between the age of 3-7 years old by Sept 1 (for Fall start) or Jan 1 (for Spring start)

  • capable of separating from their parent or caregiver at drop off

  • capable of walking in & out of the site with their own backpack on their back

  • demonstrate age-appropriate independence in walking on their own, carrying their own backpack, taking their own jackets on/off, & managing their personal belongings

  • capable of listening to & taking direction from adults, particularly as it pertains to safety

  • healthy enough to spend an extended period of time outdoors in the elements through the seasons

  • toilet-trained (with assistance)

  • demonstrate a desire to participate with and stay with the group

  • able to attend "full-time", meaning attending one, two or three weekly forest school sessions each week, for which tuition is paid either monthly or by full semester

  • dropped off / picked up by a parent or designated caregiver at our Forest School site.

Please note our updated daily schedule adapted to Covid-safe practices for this Spring!

Rhythm of our Forest School Day:

 

One of the endless wonders of Forest School is the fact that things in nature are constantly changing, so each session tends to offer a new mystery or delight to explore.  While there is plenty of time for deep play & contemplation, there is also a structure to our Forest School session that looks something like this (times are an estimate & vary depending upon what site we are using):

  • 8:45 am - Drop-off

  • 9 am - Circle-up (this is a brief circle & might include some gentle yoga, song/s, &/or special mentions for the day)

  • 9:05 am - Walk to site 

  • 9:15 am - Forest Circle ("Hello Forest"; "Who is here?"; safety demonstrations / reviews; & explanation of special projects, adventures &/or supervised tool practice on offer during the forest free play times. This may also be the time slot we eventually introduce the concept of "Sit Spots" to the children.)

  • 9:35 am - Forest free play, block I

  • 10:45 am - Snack & Story (Sit Spots may occur after story & snack)

  • 11:05 am - Forest free play, block II / tools / special projects & provocations

  • 12:30 pm - Closing Circle & leave site

  • 12:50 pm - Lunch (parents are welcome to join us)

  • *1:15 pm - Departure
    *Late pick-ups are subject to late-fees (see parent handbook)

What to Pack for your Child's Day at SOL Forest School:

Your child will be expected to carry their own backpack so it is important that you have them try some backpacks on before making a purchase.  A higher-quality backpack from an outdoor / sports store will serve better than something cheaply made.  Look for a backpack with a waist belt &/or a chest belt as this helps to distribute the weight of the backpack, as well as one with a built-in safety whistle, if possible.  These can be found at REI, on-line & usually in the larger box stores.  The backpack should be big enough to carry 1 large or 2 small water bottles, some spare clothes, a hat, & any special personal items such as sunscreen, bug spray, handkerchief or tissues, etc. PLEASE do not send your child with toys or cherished items as we are not responsible for anything that is lost or destroyed while outside in the field.  We also are unable to dispense medicines to your child so these cannot be in your child's backpack.

This is what your child should bring to each forest school session and have on them or in their backpacks:

  • mask for drop-off and circle time (until further notice; please see our current Covid policy)

  • sunscreen applied on their face/body (applied by parent)

  • 1 or 2 water bottles (in their backpack, filled with water)

  • closed-toe shoes & socks (all year round)

  • sun hat (all year round, the NM sun can be intense throughout the year)

  • extra set of clothing, including underwear AND socks (all year round; adjust spare clothing for the season)

  • extra layers (all year round: non-cotton long bottoms, long-sleeved shirts & fleece or sweater in cold months)

  • warm hat, gloves/mittens (2 pairs on wet days) & scarf/neck gaiter or balaclava (Oct-Mar)

  • winter jacket, fleece, hoody or warm sweater (depending on the season)

  • NON-cotton long underwear worn under pants in cool/cold weather

  • Snow pants during winter/snowy/wet weather (NO cotton)

  • NON-cotton socks in cold/wet weather

  • snow boots in cold weather (i.e. Bogs, Sorrel, Kamik, and similar; mid-calf or well above the ankle)

  • rubber boots in the muddy spring (i.e. Bogs, Muck Boots, and similar; mid-calf or well above the ankle)

  • waterproof rain coat & pants during monsoon season

  • lunch packed in a separate lunch bag (include ice pack in warm weather; we will keep all of these together in a separate cooler bag)

  • [optional] tissues, wipes, sunscreen, hand gel, etc. IF you have a brand-name preference or your child has an allergy / sensitivity

 

Snacks & Lunch:

We provide a healthy morning snack that is usually organic & gluten-free.  For birthday celebrations we ask parents to provide low-sugar, finger-friendly treats to share with the group (nothing with icing or requiring refrigeration please as it is too much to handle in the outdoors).  We do not encourage sending separate personal snacks unless your child has food intolerances / allergies (if this is the case, please talk to Sally). On occasion, we may have a child in a session with a food allergy & if it is severe enough, we may ask parents of our other Treeschoolers NOT to send their children lunch with the offending item (peanuts or peanut butter, for example). For birthdays we also encourage sending a favorite book or story of your child's to share during our morning circle (parents are always welcome to come along & read this book during their child's birthday celebration!) 

Please check (empty) your child's backpack after each forest school session as it is highly likely you will find all kinds of "treasures" inside from their outdoor adventuring!