Frequently Asked Questions: Little Forest School

What ages do you enroll in each class?

Our enrollment starts at 2.5 and goes to the age of 10.  Currently, we have 3 different classes: Stars 2.5-3.5, Rainbows 3-5, and Forest Friends 5-10. Exceptions for children under 2.5 are for younger siblings, returning families or special exceptions. 

What does a typical day look like?

Our day begins with open play, followed by morning circle, depending on the age group academics, bathrooms, picnic lunch, open play (music or yoga), closing circle, and cleaning up. Read more about each class’s daily schedule here.

Do you provide any extracurricular activities during the day? 

Yes, we provide music, art, yoga, and a fire ceremony throughout the week (our youngest Stars class does not participate in the fire ceremony). We also rotate outdoor spaces so they all have a chance to play on the play structure and go into our forest classrooms. See our outdoor classroom space here.

What are the maximum class size and teacher ratios for each class?

Stars: 1:5 (maximum class size is 10 per day)

Rainbow 1:7 (maximum class size is 14 per day)

Forest Friends 1:10 (maximum class size is 20 per day)

What are the school hours?

School begins at 8:45 am and pick up is at 12:35 pm for half day enrollment. School is from 8:30-2:30 for full day enrollment (only offered for students over 5 years old who are in the Forest Friends class).

Is lunch provided?

Lunch is not provided, you must pack lunch and water for your child each day.  We have picnic-style lunches and ask that it be a litter-free lunch. The youngest and oldest classes also eat snack during the school day.

Do you offer early drop-off or any after-school classes?

We do not offer early drop-off or any after-school classes.

What happens if it rains, do you go inside?

All children are required to have proper rain gear, including rain pants, a rain jacket, and rain boots.  When it rains we put up tarps to provide an area of shelter.  We will go inside if there is thunder, lightning, high winds, or less than 50 degrees with rain. We otherwise do not have a temperature that is too high or too low. We embrace that there is no bad weather, just bad clothing!

Do you stay outside during the colder months, how do you keep warm?

We stay outside as much as possible.  We provide information on how to layer properly for maximum warmth and keep extra warm gear at school in case someone didn’t layer or forgot an essential item.  We provide big body movement activities to keep warm in the coldest parts of the mornings and reserve sedentary or fine motor activities for the warmer parts of the day.  Children are also welcome to bring warm tea or warm water with lemon.  We move into the sun during the winter months as much as possible. Finally, we have mini rice pack hand warmers that we provide during the colder months.

Do you provide any academics or is it all play?

The amount of academics depends on the age of your child.  In our Stars class, we focus on fine and gross motor, working together in a community, using our voices, nature play, and lots of music.  In our Rainbow class we do all of the above but also include Handwriting without Tears which encompasses all of the learning modalities; visual, kinesthetic, and auditory to introduce letters in an age-appropriate and fun way.  We also incorporate Wild Math which is naturally hands-on, engages all the senses, and includes plenty of movement.  In our Forest Friends class, we add in the component of Orton Gillingham instruction which supports Decoding vs. Encoding, Phonological Awareness, Print Concepts, and Automatic Word Recognition. We make sure to provide open-ended and unstructured play into each day no matter the class!

Are you affiliated with the church?

We are not affiliated with the church, we rent the space and operate separately. Additionally, we are a secular school that does not focus on any religious holiday or celebrations. We are accepting and loving to people of all religions and faiths but believe that school is not the place to celebrate religious holidays.

Are your teachers certified?

Our teachers all hold many special skills and talents.  We do have certified teachers, but not all are currently certified.  Little Forest provides training throughout the year that focuses on social-emotional and nature education and Orton-Gillingham Instruction. All teachers are currently completing conscious discipline training. Please visit the TEAM page for more information about each teacher.

Can I volunteer in my child’s classroom?

Yes, we allow caregivers to teach the classes any special skills that you may have.  The director will need to approve the topic to make sure it aligns with the school’s values and mission.

What does a Cooperative enrollment entail?

Currently only the Rainbow (3-5) class allows for Cooperative enrollment, though this may be an option for the Forest Friends Class if requested. The cooperative parent is a background checked, first aid trained family member that will act as the assistant teacher for a full day of work for one day each week. This is a great option if you prefer a reduced tuition rate or if early childhood education is something that interests you. This is a big commitment though and we expect cooperative helpers to commit to helping for the full year to not disrupt the class expectations.