Our Tribe plays by the Forest School Curriculum. We are a close-knit, loving community who honor each other’s individual gifts. Together, we play, explore, learn, and grow to enhance our powerful connection to self, others, and nature. We travel to various nature settings in local Santa Monica and Malibu. Our families come from Venice, Santa Monica, and Pacific Palisades.
How and when did it start ?
Our forest school was born in 2011 out of the love for children and Nature…Christopher Pierre our chief and founder likes to think that he was gifted this opportunity from life… He grew up in the Swiss Alps spending his early childhood summer days in the high alpine pastures with the farmers, their animals and the forest…
In Los Angeles, he found many little hidden gems while exploring the Santa Monica mountains and beaches. It became his passion and vocation to bring children into this wilderness so close to our city. Since then LA Nature kids has grown to a community of 500+ families. They have also trained teachers on forest school curriculum and as a result many other similar programs have flourished in the area.
What is a forest school ?
The term “forest school” came from Europe. It is a school where the entire or a part of the day or the week is spend in Nature. Instead of bringing the outside world into the classroom, the teachers bring the children into Nature.
What is the curriculum ?
This varies for each program.
Ours is play based. Children learn through play interacting with each other, nature and projects.
Early childhood development in a Nature school:
Children will learn how to enter play, share, set boundaries, ask for help, listen to others, resolve conflicts, problem solve, take turns, role play, follow directions, and take care of their bodies. All of the above take time and repetition through failures and successes with the help of our teachers. They will have a fun, loving, nurturing & successful preschool experience and move on to kindergarten with happiness and self confidence.
B)Math/ Literacy/ Art/ Science:
These come through play, projects, books, and nature observation experiences.
-Math/science: Counting, sizing, weighing, shape recognition, sorting, harvesting, cooking tinctures and balms, research; What flies, floats, swims and crawls? Why and how? Everything is provided by Nature in multitudes, variety and abundance by the elements (rocks, dirt, plants, water, air and animals, especially insects). We are in a live and real environment.
The teachers read books and children are provided with books to explore independently. When the children are ready and interested, the teachers provide writing and letter recognition opportunities.
-Art: Natural materials are used daily. Other media include: water color, acrylic paint, scissors, glue, markers and other drawing materials, paper, canvas.
C) Motor skills:
-Gross motor skills:
In Nature we get to climb hills, rocks and trees. We balance on logs or stones, lift rocks and branches while making forts, dig in the dirt, run freely in the grassy pastures or along trails. Nature provides the most enjoyable and efficient ways one can possibly dream of to develop gross motor skills.
-Small motor skills:
Harvesting and using small natural materials (tiny rocks, twigs, leaves, petals, grasses, shells, etc.) Carving, drawing, cutting, painting, building fairy houses. Holding and caring for insects.
When handling a live insect or water creature, all of our senses are focused making sure to keep this life safe.
This development of the child is not always listed in “early childhood education” standards. In our lives today, being able to adapt with ease and confidence to an evolving environment in is extremely valuable
The traditional school setting provides a controlled setting (a house or center carefully thought out, build and arranged for the safety and education of the children). Some of the schools have created amazing outdoor and indoor spaces.
A forest school by nature is by far the most efficient setting to learn and master adaptability.
Every day provides a new and constantly changing environment. We have over 20 different locations we go to in the surrounding areas from Santa Monica to Topanga and Malibu. Beaches with tide pools, canyons with year round streams, sand stone caves on the mountain tops, Grassy fields and forests. All within a 30 minute drive.
Our core teachers have extensive education, training and experience in the field of early childhood education. Between the two of them, they have over 40 years of classroom teaching experience and have worked at traditional, progressive, and Reggio Emilia inspired schools. These include: Palisades Preschool, First Pres, The First School, Clairefontaine, First Years and Crossroads.
Nicole has been teaching the forest school curriculum of LA Nature Kids for 7 years and Shelayna has been with us for two years now. Both teachers are certified in CPR and first aid. They were also babysitters long before they became teachers and they are mothers as well!
Due to CDC/city/state COVID regulations:
- You will have to take your Childs temperature before leaving your house and bringing them to preschool.
- If your child has a temperature or shows any signs of flu or fatigue, you will keep them home.
- Teachers are required to wear masks in the van. It is to the parents discretion to have their child wear a mask in the van. Once we are out in nature, no masks are required.
- You will have to provide your child with their own snacks, lunch, water. There will be no sharing of food.
- We will have children wash hands several times day. We are usually by a source of water and if we aren’t, we will bring water and soap for hand washing.
We pick up and drop off near the basketball court at Clover Park:
2600 Ocean Park Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
M-F: 8:30am – 1:30pm
September 6- First day of school
September 26- Rosh Hashanah
October 10- Indigenous people / Columbus Day
November 11-Veterans Day
November 21-25: Thanksgiving break
December 19-Jan 2- Winter Break (school reopens January 3)
January 16th-Martin Luther King Day
February 20- Presidents Day
March 27- April 7: Spring break (school reopens April 10th)
May 29-Memorial Day
June 28- Last day of the 2022/23 school year
July 5- First day of summer program
August 4- Last day of summer program
September 5- start day for 2023/24 school year.