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Why Choose A Nature School?

It is a question we get asked often here - why should we choose a nature school for our child? 

It is our belief that children join the rigors of mainstream American academia too early these days.  Gone are the days of a carefree childhood, replaced instead with the stressors of reaching early academic success. Children in these situations often miss out on the critical skills and lessons that are necessary in learning how to learn, how to love learning, how to get the most out of the life experiences, and how to be a kid. This is the foundational thought that our program was built upon - that children need to learn in their least restrictive environment. Children learn best when it happens naturally and organically.  That is where their original love for learning is fostered and developed as they grow.  We are honored to be a part of their journey as they learn how to be inquisitive, kind, caring, nurturing, smart, brave, and imaginative. Here at Outdoor Woodland Learners we are guided by the idea that free and organic time in nature is the basis of childhood. It has been scientifically proven to encourage and develop out-of-the-box thinking, problem solving skills, social and emotional skills, empathy for the natural world in which we live, physical strength and confidence, communication and cooperative skills, as well as cultivate a deep and intimate connection to nature. It is the way in which we learn, not the facts we learn, that is most critical to development of these skills. A few of our most important guiding principles are:


Respect for Nature

We teach through positive modeling that every life in the forest is valuable, important, and garners respect. The children here learn to value and respect all living things, great or small.

Learning Through Play

Our students here, regardless of the class they are signed up for, have time to explore, imagine, and discover in nature. They are provided with many tools for learning and discovery that are available to them every day - imaginative aids for pretend play, tools and materials for constructing and creating, exploratory tools for further research, written materials for reference, etc.

Creativity and Exploration

One of our favorite ways to spark creativity is through exploration. Exploring exposes one to new things and new things are inspiring!

Mapping and Navigation

Knowing how to avoid getting lost and how to find your way home if you do is very important to any person who plans to spend any time in the forest. All of our students will be introduced to basic mapping and compass skills with hands on practice. Older classes further hone this skill with more in-depth coursework.

Primitive Survival Skills

Here at OWL school we introduce all of our students to the art of creating fire with raw materials gathered from the land, building shelters, and so much more.

Hazard Identification

Knowing how to identify the things in the forest that can bring you harm and get you into real trouble is an often-overlooked survival skill - it is one that we live by here! From identification of poison ivy, ticks, and other hazards of the plant or animal type, we cover it all.

Montessori Inspired Teachings

All of our classes incorporate Montessori-inspired teachings and materials.  It is introduced at the Elf Owls level and grown and expanded as your student moves up into the KinderOwls and OWLmentary programs.  Our yurt classrooms are what Montessori dreams are made of - beautiful, serene spaces that are designed to encourage self-paced learning that meets each student where they are academically. 

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