The Forest School

Forest School Open House Days

Thursday, May 9- Underhill

Friday, May 10- Richmond

9am - 12:30pm

Our open house days are free and open to parents and prospective students to come get a glimpse of a day at Forest School.

Logistics

Ages 6 -14

Fall 2019-Spring 2020

Thursdays in Underhill 9am-3pm

Thursdays Afterschool program available 3-5:30pm

 

Fridays in Richmond, 9am-3pm

September 12 - December 13 and March 5 - June 4

$1400 for the year.

Apply now for Fall 2019!

What We Do

Come spend one day per week out in the woods, engaged in community, the land, and the seasons. Participate in activities including nature study, wild play, team building, problem solving, earth connection, traditional living skills, and intrapersonal reflection. This program complements the traditional school week with a day outdoors in a nature-centered, spirited agenda guided by children’s interests and curiosity. It is also ideal for homeschooled children, offering them a chance to connect deeply with other children, themselves, and the natural world. The Forest School is held in the beautiful woods of Underhill and Richmond, Vermont where children can enjoy the rolling hills and forests as well as the swamps and streams.

  • Traditional living skills: shelter and fort building, carving and wood crafts, lashing, cordage making, wild edibles/medicinals, cooking, fire by friction and one match fires, ancient hunting techniques.

  • Daily ritual, seasonal ceremonies, reverence for the natural world.

  • Naturalist skills and knowledge: seasonal rhythms and attunement to seasonal changes, plant and tree identification, tracking, animal taxonomy, bird language, geology, geography, history.

  • Community building: leadership skills, problem solving, communication and conflict resolution skills.

  • Modeling and practicing community values: trust and respect for others and nature, ability to trust oneself, love of nature, social equity, sustainability.

  • Creativity: song and rhythm, art, craft, imagination, drama, role play.

  • Child-driven outdoor play.

  • Outdoor physical recreation: hiking, climbing, snowshoeing, running, jumping, river play.

 

We will hold community workdays and seasonal festivals for parents and friends in the fall and spring, and an overnight campout to end our year. 

 

 Areas of Focus
Daily Rhythm

  • 9am: Gather together and share nature observations from our previous week and explore the "nature museum" (unique nature items and crafts brought by mentors usually centered around a certain theme).

  • 9:30: Enter into the woods solo or in small groups with a nature question to ponder.

  • 9:45: Community service- collecting wood, cutting wood, trail work.

  • 10:15: Build a fire, make music, offer thanks, and share snack.

  • 11:00: Community games.

  • 11:15: Guilds: Project time, a period of focused creativity and mentor led projects.

  • 12:30: Shared meal time, sometimes communally prepared around the fire.

  • 12:45: Free, active, energy-exuding, and/or creative play.

  • 1:45: Contemplation time in a special sit spot, journaling, solo exploration.

  • 2:15: Clean up our camp, share highlights from the day. Mentor story telling. 

  • 2:45: Walk out to meet families.

     

Teen Program

This Fall our program will include a mentor in training program for ages 12-15.

As a part of their time at the Forest School, these students will receive one on one mentorship helping them to create self designed projects to take the program to the next level. They will also be empowered to take on specific roles and responsibilities within the community based on their unique interests and skills, with the guidance of mentors. 

 

The Forest School is led by ReTribe educators John Hunt, Teddy Pietrzak, and Julia Martin

Forest School Blog

 For a glimpse of life at the Forest School... 

A Video Glimpse
of Forest School
Research

Want to learn more about the benefits of forest school? Our research page presents the evidence that nature immersion has numerous benefits for children's physical, cognitive, and social well being, as well as the environmental benefits that can ensue when children feel connected to place and internalize the ethics of environmental stewardship.

I know that she is bringing home beautiful songs and

stories. She is bringing home information about how fires are started and names of animals and she tells us that she laughs ALOT with Teddy

Here is a  podcast from NPR about public schools doing forest days like ours.

I asked my daughter, "What are you thankful for?" This is how she responded:

"I'm thankful that Forest School was created. I'm thankful that it is a safe place. It's my home."

I was awestruck with each phrase that she spoke but when she said "it's my home," she didn't mean it feels like home. It was that she found her place in the world. It was really profound.