Our philosophy in action . . .
Social and Emotional Development
We nourish caring relationships among children, teachers, parents and Nature. We emphasize social skills, including respectful communication.
Children learn to listen while others are speaking and learn to take turns.
Children develop Deep Listening skills, so they can sense into wild nature and their own true nature.
We honor that all emotions are natural and that certain behaviors are more skillful than others. With respect, we encourage children to notice the impact of aggressive or hurtful behavior. We practice peaceful conflict resolution.
Children learn that “It’s okay to feel angry, but it’s not okay to hit.” and “It’s okay to feel frustrated, but it’s not okay to grab a stick or toy away from a friend.” If carefully and skillfully modeled and facilitated, the social skills that are focused on during early years can benefit children and their relationships for a lifetime.
We value self-worth and know that confidence grows as children learn to take care of themselves, learn to help others and learn to take risks.
Children learn to wash their hands before eating and how to keep personal belongings in their backpack.
Children are encouraged to help each other and to contribute to group tasks, such as tidying up after playtime.
Children grow in confidence as they try new things, fail, succeed and learn.
We respect that children learn through imitation.
Teachers role model care and compassion as well as skillful communication.
We prioritize physical health and well-being.
Children start their day with a morning ritual of washing hands. And handwash throughout our day together.
Children take daily walks, engage in creative movement and play outdoors—climbing, balancing, running and jumping. They practice their fine motor skills through art and craft making, building and collecting.
We drink plenty of water. And encourage parents to pack healthy lunches and snacks.
Place-based Nature Connection
We honor our place and her seasons through stories, songs, creative movement and art making.
During Circle Time, children sing, move and recite verses that joyfully express the richness of the natural world and, specifically, our own place--these trees, these animals, these wildflowers.
At Snack Time, teachers read books about Nature.
We explore, meander, play and rest in, with and as Nature.
Children observe, discover and experiment in and with the forest. They learn how to listen deeply.
We respect our bodies and open our senses.
Children are encouraged to tune into and trust their own body’s wisdom.
We nourish caring relationships between our other-than-human neighbors.
Children befriend each other as well as trees, insects, plants and animals.
To encourage intimacy, our neighbors are referred to as Brother Crow, Sister Deer, etc.
Creative Thinking and Expression
We value creativity and know that creative thinking now leads to problem solving and innovation later in life. We respect and value each child’s unique gifts and encourage these gifts to be creative resources for all of us.
Children are encouraged to express their unique ideas through conversation and word play, storytelling, imaginative play and art making.
In addition to child-led creativity play, teachers offer creative opportunities--some are planned in advance, such as place-based craft projects and inspirational books on nature, and some are a response in the moment to emergent interests and ideas.