What curriculum does the Farm and Forest school use?
We are a play-based, child-centered, nature-loving preschool. We use the seasons and daily conditions to help guide our authentic experiential learning every day. We are inspired by the traditions of Waldorf education and by Mother Nature herself. We understand that nature and animals offer a profound and healing education that is much needed in our modern time. We strive to support the children to become confident and independent through trusting their competence and innate self-knowledge. We let children take risks and we invite them to participate in purposeful work. We laugh, cry and work together to create a compassionate, joyful and connected community.
What happens when it’s really cold?
Our years of experience have taught us that when dressed appropriately, children thrive outdoors year round. When children are playing they are moving and keeping warm. If extra warmth is needed, we often have a fire or the children can do an activity in our warmed shelter. If the temperature drops below 15 degrees we will assess the conditions and either call a delay start or cancel school. We will make every attempt to keep the school open when it is safe to do so. We are lucky that Spokane is relatively dry and that our winters are relatively mild.
How do I know if this type of education is right for my child and my family?
Children must already be comfortable spending time outdoors. Parents must understand and support the importance of appropriate outdoor gear and be comfortable with and understand the importance of free play and risky play. Parents must support a play-based education. We do not directly teach academics. Of course we find many opportunities to interweave subjects like math through living experiences (counting eggs, harvested plums, counting to take turns, etc).
Is snack/lunch provided
We supply all food during the school year. Children are often invited in the preparation of the food, setting up, serving and cleaning up afterwards. We have a weekly menu that stays consistent throughout the year composed of healthy, wholesome, homemade, organic ingredients. Meals may include: oatmeal with applesauce and raisins; cashews, raisins, apples and cheese, rice with braggs and pumpkin seeds, seasonal vegetable soup with buns and honey butter. We always have fresh organic apples for dessert. Sometimes the children enjoy special fruit leather treats from the summer harvest.
What kind of equipment or clothing should my child bring?
The parents will get a list of necessary gear for the year. It is imperative that children come to school prepared for the weather so that they are able to spend all of their energy on playing and learning, and less on trying to stay warm and dry. We also love WOOL! We find the warmth and comfort of wool layers to be far superior to anything synthetic.
What does a mixed age group look like?
Mixed-age groups offer a feeling of being in a family. The cross-age relationships benefit both the younger and older children. The older children learn the responsibility that comes with being a “big sister or big brother”, they learn how to be leaders. The younger children emulate and imitate the older children. They learn from observing the older children at play and at work, anticipating the day when they are old enough to do things like serve food at the snack table, or use certain hand tools, which are rights of passage.
Does my child need to be potty trained?
We ask that all children be actively working on potty training by their start date with noticeable progress. We have an outdoor potty and an indoor space for changing clothes if needed.
Can parents participate or volunteer?
Yes! We appreciate the talent and enthusiasm of parents in our community who are willing to share their work and wisdom with us. Volunteering can take on many forms – helping us reach out to new families, helping with landscaping and land improvement, assisting with building projects for the play yard, helping prepare for festivals and special occasions, etc.