Curriculum Overview

Long, relaxed periods of outdoor free play are beneficial to the physical, social, and emotional development of young children.  The Forest Playschool is committed to providing a protected place and time for children to dig, climb, build, invent, pretend, and explore.  Every day, kids flow between work projects such as cutting vegetables for soup, sowing prairie grass seeds, planting daffodil bulbs, or sawing firewood, and the fascinating play opportunities provided by the forest environment.  Weather events, animal sightings, and other forest experiences are the heart of our curriculum. 

The school day typically runs from 9:00am to 1:00pm. Parents are strongly encouraged to get children to school by 9:30. 

Children between 3 and 7 attend our drop off programs, and children under 3 come to school with a parent or caregiver.

I love that the program offers the children creative things to do and supports industriousness, curiosity and adventure. I am very impressed in the way the adults interact with the children: speaking to them respectfully, responding to their wilderness finds, listening to their questions and patiently guiding them out of danger if needed. This program is longer than other programs, allowing for learning to happen in a more instinctual way. I also love that there is no specific art or craft project that a child must work on and bring home! It seems that there is no need for there to be “proof” of learning, but a trust and confidence in the child’s innate ability to learn. This program is definitely unique.
— Forest Playschool Parent

Weather Policies

The Forest Playschool does not meet when temperatures are predicted at less than 15 degrees Fahrenheit by 10:00am, or in the event of a wind chill warning or advisory. If early morning temps are very cold, school may start at 10:00am instead of 9:00. School may also be canceled due to thunderstorms, very heavy rain, or wind advisory. Last winter, we discovered that extremely cold days can be beautiful in the forest when there is sunshine and fresh snow. Our program is about enjoyment, not endurance; however, some of our best school days have occurred during challenging weather conditions.

The Peterson Park field house is our emergency shelter. Children will practice frequent storm drills in order to establish protocol for getting out of the woods quickly in an organized group.

Our official school weather information source is the Weather Underground, North Park University station.