Fed up with traditional early childhood programs where the focus on rote learning and strict schedules leaves little room for developmentally appropriate play and exploration?
You know there has to be a better way.
You shouldn't have to choose between an education and a childhood.
That's where we come in.
Our Educational Philosophy
At Riverside Nature School we believe that children are naturally capable, compassionate, and curious. They have an innate love of learning and a strong sense of right and wrong, and we can best serve their intellectual, social, and emotional development by getting out of their way as much as possible. Our goal is to empower children to be independent learners, creative problem solvers, compassionate individuals, and life-long stewards of the earth.
The Riverside Nature School program is rooted in the German Waldkindergarten (Forest Kindergarten) model. We are committed to offering a child-directed emergent curriculum in which the children learn through authentic play and natural inquiry. This model is supported by a growing body of research which confirms that children ages birth to eight learn most effectively through play-based, interest-driven learning.
Why We're Special
- We offer an authentic nature immersion program where students spend the majority of their time outdoors, year round, rain or shine, exploring the woods, fields, and gardens of our 80-acre property.
- We don't follow a pre-determined curriculum. Rather, lesson plans evolve organically though the children’s outdoor exploration, and learning is guided by the children’s individual interests.
- We emphasize process-based learning: the goal is for children to acquire knowledge in a meaningful way, not to reach a prescribed end goal.
- Adults serve as mentors and guides, modeling curiosity and compassion while giving children the space to learn and explore independently.
Top 5 Benefits for Your Child
- Greater independence and self-confidence stemming from frequent opportunities to learn what their bodies are capable of and to assess risk through play.
- Higher long-term academic achievement and executive functioning as a result of the self-control and problem-solving practiced through play.
- A deep and personal connection with the natural world, fostered through extensive unstructured outdoor playtime.
- Improved gross and fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and balance, stronger immune systems, and better overall health as a result of frequent, vigorous outdoor activity.
- Significantly lower rates of behavioral problems and attention deficit disorders - as Erin Kenny of Cedarsong Nature School says, "children cannot bounce off the walls if we take away the walls."
About the Facilitator
Emma Huvos is a certified early childhood educator and permaculturalist with a passion for outdoor experiential education. She is dedicated to sharing her love of the natural world with others through hands-on learning experiences that excite and inspire.
Listen to Emma's interview on the Driven 2 Educate Podcast and read her blog post on the InspirED Blog to learn more about her educational philosophy and her path to creating Riverside Nature School.
INTERESTED IN LEARNING MORE?
So What's This "NAture School" Thing all About?
- Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children by Angela J. Hanscom.
- Forest Kindergartens: The Cedarsong Way by Erin K. Kenney
- Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv.
- Why Outdoor Schools Make Kids Happier -- and Smarter - YES! Magazine
- Risky Play: Why Children Love It and Need It - Psychology Today
- Why So Many Kids Can't Sit Still in School Today - The Washington Post