Nature is the foundation of our holistic approach to immersive, nature-based forest school program for children in K-5th grade who are being homeschooled. Flexible options are available Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (The overlapping time frames are ideal if you have a younger child who attends Notchcliff Forest Preschool from 9:30-12:30 p.m.)
Class Options: Choose up to four-days/week with Monday-Thursday class options from 9 - 1 p.m. for children homeschooling for K-2nd grade. The Friday class is open to children homeschooling in 3rd-5th grade. Please note that Kindergarten-age means your child is five (5) years old by Sept. 1, 2023.
Monday: Hands-on Science and Social Studies Inquiry (K-2nd)
Tuesday: Language and Literacy Exploration (K-2nd)
Wednesday (class full): Wild Math and Outdoor Cooking (K-2nd)
Thursday: Creative Nature Arts: Music, Art, and Dramatic Play (K-2nd)
Friday: Wilderness Survival and Nature Play (3rd-5th)
Note: The Wednesday class is full. If you choose the 2- or 3-day option, you must choose Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday options.
Our curriculum is emergent and holistic. When you enroll for a specific topic, your child will still be exposed to language, math, science, and creative arts as we naturally do during outdoor play and exploration. Your registration for a specific daily focus means that we offer intentional activities and experiences to learn about the topic, but please note this does not exclude any of the rich interdisciplinary learning that always occurs.
Each day provides a different daily focus, allowing teachers to balance intentional learning experiences with emergent, child-driven explorations. We reference MSDE’s curriculum standards to ensure that children meet homeschool requirements (see MSDE’s homeschool info or components of homeschool instruction video here). The children’s nature journals, photos, and other learning artifacts will provide you with documentation to support your child’s learning adventures at Notchcliff. While much of the children's time is devoted to nature play, we also translate our adventures into activities that align with grade level expectations and standards. (Learn more at www.naturalcommunity.org.)
Co-Op Agreement: Parents play an integral role in learning. We staff each class with a forest school guide/lead teacher to oversee and facilitate daily experiential learning, paired with one parent support. This framework invites parents into the learning process, which includes unstructured, child-direct exploration and intentional projects and activities. All parents must attend an orientation prior to volunteering during class and will select dates to assist throughout the semester/school year, which you will schedule in advance. The more children in the class, the fewer times you may participate. Most parents will volunteer 2 times/month if you are enrolled in two class days or more. As we get to know the talents among our learning community, we will utilize parents as important resources who also have much to share with the children.
Tuition: The program is for the full program year and cost is based on less than you might otherwise pay a sitter. If you join partway through the year, we will pro-rate your tuition. If you are experiencing financial need, please reach out. We have limited aid for those who qualify.
Payment schedule: Initial, non-refundable payment is paid when you enroll* (Tuition 1 of 5). The second payment is due Oct. 1; third payment is due Dec. 1; fourth payment is due Feb. 1, and final payment is due Apr. 1. Reminders with individual balances will be sent approximately two weeks before payments are due. If you join partway through the year, we will pro-rate your tuition.
Enrollment Requirements: Your child must be five years old by Sept. 1 of the program year they begin.
Family Agreement & Handbook: Immersive outdoor learning means just that - we are outdoors in all kinds of weather! Please read and sign the handbook and Family Agreement to acknowledge important policies that guide our program. Family Agreement_Notchcliff Nature Programs.pdf.
You can find our COVID-19 Policies here, which are subject to change. Our calendar and gear guide will be provided in your confirmation email. We look forward to amazing adventures with you and your child!
*Initial deposits not received at registration, may result in registration cancellation.