nature school

“When children play in natural spaces, they’re far more likely to invent their own games than in more structured settings--a key factor in becoming self-directed and inventive as children and later in life.”

Richard Louv, ‘Vitamin N’

Rivers & Roads acknowledges and respects the development of all children. We know that exposure to nature-based experiences and play-based opportunities is crucial to early childhood success. Our community is inspired by European based forest kindergartens and the Reggio Emilia approach to intentionally value children as strong, capable, and resilient humans. We respect the young child as an intelligent equal with desires, feelings, thoughts, and a voice that wants to be heard. Rather than going against proven educational holistic studies and requiring our children to become office workers that sit at a desk and do input and output all day, we offer infinite play and inquiry based nature explorations.

This program is open to ages 4-7. We believe strongly in honoring the early childhood years beyond the traditional preschool years by continuing play-based learning for 5, 6 and 7 year olds. This multi-age grouping builds a community of collaborators that are continuously practicing and developing respect for themselves, others, and the world we share. Our nature school is intentionally designed to allow children exposure and time to further develop their natural curiosity and potential to be self directed and confident lifelong learners.

"A nature school program uses the natural world to support dual goals that address both child development and conservation values. These include the development of the world of the child (in all domains – cognitive, physical, social, emotional, aesthetic, and spiritual) and the development of an ecological identity or environmental ethic."

We believe the environment around us is one of the most valuable teachers. Children are encouraged to direct their own learning. Through observing a child's play, facilitators can thoughtfully offer play-invitations and pose questions. This supports a child's investigative process by giving them the tools they need to ignite further ideas and critical thought. Our daily rhythm allows children to flow through their day providing a structure in which safe exploration and unguided play can occur with appropriate and natural resources.

What does a day look like?

  • nature hikes
  • sensory walks
  • music
  • art
  • nature journals
  • mud play
  • water play
  • gardening
  • animal observation
  • loose parts building
  • science projects
  • free play

Rivers & Roads nature school focuses on freedom, play and community with the guidance of natural rhythms for flowing through our day with safe, loving and empathetic supports and structures.

Our Daily Flow:

8:30-9:30 Free Exploration

9:30 Gathering, Meeting, Setting Intentions

Nature Study / Hike

1:00 Fika (A hot tea and rest break) and Storytime

Play Invitations, Offerings, Nature Journals, Free Exploration

2:45 Reflection, Gratitude, Cleaning

3:30 Dismissal