We love these three C’s!
↟ To inspire Curiosity for learning
↟ Instill Compassion for every living thing
↟ Nurture authentic Connection to self, community, and the natural world
Our core values include:
Children—We believe children are inherently competent, intelligent, creative, and loving beings.
Curiosity—we harness the natural curiosity of young children by asking questions at the peak of discovery or interest. We continue asking questions to encourage reflection, conversation among peers, or further exploration.
Compassion—we treat ourselves, each other, and every living thing—big or small—with kindness, empathy, and respect.
Physical Experience—we strive to create a place where children can be fully “in” their bodies, testing their limits and experiencing themselves as strong, confident physical beings. Children are free to explore and learn with all of their senses. Through year-long nature-immersion programs, children become hardy and resilient, and more in-tune with their body's needs.
Peacefulness—we model and encourage kind and intentional communication. We encourage the development of friendships, community, and social and emotional maturity. The children learn that the forest is a sanctuary for respite and rejuvenation.
Connection—we believe that we are a part of nature, not separate from it. We model and instill a deep love, wonder, and gratitude for nature and all its resources. This authentic connection to nature leads to caring for our forest and our natural environment.
Teaching Philosophy and Curriculum
Wildwood Forest School uses the well-established Cedarsong Way forest kindergarten method in all its facets and applications. We are also inspired by the Waldorf pedagogy, especially its gentle approach to academics, and its emphasis on seasonal rhythms, imaginative play, storytelling, song, and movement. We believe children learn best through direct experience with the natural world. Our goal is to tap into their sense of wonder about nature while teaching basic environmental and natural science principals. We promote individual empowerment and group bonding. We teach respect for all living beings and how to minimize our impact on the earth.
Our program offers seasonal lessons from our Wildwood Forest School Curriculum as well as an emergent curriculum that flows organically from what nature presents us with that day. We have found that creating space for both short, structured lessons as well as a lot of free play and exploration is a good balance for all ages.
We are inspired by the Cedarsong Way Emergent Curriculum that was developed by Erin Kenny, the “mother” of the American forest kindergarten movement.
Cedarsong Way essential elements:
1. Commitment to nature immersion regardless of weather
2. Flow learning
3. Inquiry-based teaching style
4. Place-based education
5. Respect for others, self, and the earth
6. Positive reinforcement approach
7. Emphasis on individual empowerment and group bonding
8. Authentic play
9. Exposure to moderate risk
10. Small class size, low student-teacher ratio
We strive to create community among the Wildwood families. Building a network of support for nature loving families empowers and encourages them to get out in nature even more—in all weather! We plan to host Wildwood family gatherings throughout the year and will keep you all updated about that!
We encourage families to stay after class and continue playing in nature together. We also encourage caregivers to meet up during class time and enjoy the forest or trail together. If you do decide to stay in the area for your own nature time, please stay out of sight of our class to make sure the children are not distracted.
If you need to convey time-sensitive information about an imminent absence, late arrivals, or a change to pick-up plans, please contact your teacher directly via phone before or after class (you will be given your teachers' contact info at the beginning of the year via email).
We keep our class time free from interruptions and screens unless there is an emergency. For all other non-time-sensitive questions, please email email@example.com
*Please do not pass along important information to teachers at drop-off or pick-up, as that can be a hectic time and we may forget. Text or email is preferred.
Sick/Absent Child Policy
*Additional important policies have been added to this due to Covid-19. See here.
Since we are outdoors, there is less chance to pass germs than in a traditional indoor school setting.
↟ If your child is sick and cannot attend school, please text or call us so that we do not wait for them at the trailhead.
↟ If you know in advance that you will miss a day for vacation, etc., please email us.
↟ Please do not pass along this information during pick-up or drop-off.
Class Cancellation Policy
Wildwood Forest School follows the Alpine School District schedule and rules for weather closure. If Alpine School District is closed, we will be closed as well. However, since we will be higher up in the mountains, we can experience more severe weather and may need to consider cancelling class even when Alpine is in session. We will notify families of a cancellation as soon as possible via text and email.
We have built into the tuition cost of our programs up to 4 cancellations days for severe weather, illness, or emergencies. This means that if your child's class is canceled more than 4 times throughout the year, we will reimburse you for the additional canceled class(es). We keep track of all canceled days for each child.
Our Wildlings and Earthlings classes will be held at the Big Springs Hollow Trailhead at the top of Big Springs Park in Provo Canyon. Please plan to drop off your child at the trailhead.
Our Seedlings class will be held at Southfork Park in Provo Canyon. Please plan to drop your child off at the pavilion on the north (right) side of the park.
We also have secondary locations that allow for flexibility when the weather is inclement or road conditions are unsafe. On these days, classes may migrate to Battlecreek Falls Trailhead in Pleasant Grove or Paul Ream Wilderness Park in Provo. These locations are easy to access and conveniently located in Utah Valley. Parents will be notified via text and email if class will be held at one of our secondary locations.
Please CLICK HERE for links to maps of these areas.
Drop Off/Pick Up Policy
We ask that you please do not drop off your child more than 5 minutes before class starts and pick up no later than 5 minutes after class ends. All of our teachers have obligations before and after class to attend to.
2023/25 School Year Schedule
Tuesdays 1:00 - 3:00 South Fork
Wednesdays 1:00 - 3:00 South Fork
Thursdays 1:00 - 3:00 South Fork
Tuesdays 10:00 - 12:30 Big Springs
Wednesdays 10:00 - 12:30 Big Springs
Thursdays 10:00 - 12:30 Big Springs
Mon PM 1:00 - 3:30 Big Springs
Wed PM 1:00 - 3:30 Big Springs
We use the wonderful Curacubby platform for both enrollment and tuition. To enroll your child, follow this enrollment link. Once enrolled, you will receive an email explaining how to navigate your child's profile. This is the platform where your child's information and classes will be stored and where you will pay tuition.
Tuition is paid monthly and due by the first of the month and no later than the 5th. There is a $10 late fee after the 5th.
There are no refunds on monthly tuition. If tuition is more than one month late, students will not be able to return to class until all invoices are paid up. Also, the student's spot cannot be held in the meantime, and Wildwood reserves the right to fill the class spot(s) at any time.
Payments should be made through the Curacubby platform at this link by credit card (2.9%fee) or bank account withdrawal (no charge). We recommend setting up a monthly automatic bank withdrawal for ease of use.
This website is where you will be able to pay tuition, receive invoices, and more.
The cost of tuition is spread evenly over the course of 9 months, no matter how many class days or weeks end up falling in that month. Some months will have holidays or weeks off (i.e. December), where other months will have 5 weeks of class rather than a typical 4. To keep the tuition consistent and to pay our teachers a predictable monthly wage, we have opted to set up our tuition payments this way. Thank you!
1 class per week $100/month
2 classes per week $190 /month
1 class per week $125 /month
2 classes per week $235 /month
1 class per week $125 /month
Risks and Hazards
The health and safety of our students is our number one priority at all times. We are trained in Wilderness First Aid, CPR, carry cell phones, and first aid kits on us at all times. We teach the children comprehensive safety rules to prevent accidents or injuries, and we have established protocols if emergencies do occur. If there is an accident of any kind, a full report will be taken and caregivers will be notified at the end of the day, or sooner if needed.
Teachers are also trained to keep a close eye on the group at all times, avoid distractions, and communicate head-counts between each other to make sure everyone is accounted for at all times.
Generally, children who have experience playing outside injure themselves much less frequently than children who don’t. This is because they are given the space and time to practice real-life risk assessment, gain essential gross motor skills, and understand their physical limits. These are skills that, when developed early in life, can help foster a lifetime of self-awareness and safety in the outdoors! Within our safety guidelines and boundaries, children have the freedom and security to play, explore, and learn to their fullest potential.
Based on the Cedarsong Way’s guidelines, we have developed safety rules and protocols for the following risks or hazards:
↟ Climbing ↟Flora ↟Water play
↟ Stick play ↟Fauna
↟Hiding or wandering ↟ Throwing
We believe that every living thing—no matter how big or small—deserves to feel safe in this world. So more safety rules will arise organically as we model and teach the children how to show care and concern for their friends and all living things in the forest.
We also keep a close eye on the children’s health and comfort. The teachers model awareness and care for their own bodies, and ask the children often, “how is everyone’s bodies feeling?” allowing the children a moment to check-in with their bodies, and bring an awareness to a possible discomfort or need. This helps to keep everyone comfortable, hydrated, happy, and healthy.
We have a zero tolerance policy regarding violent behavior at forest school. If a student is putting other children or teachers at serious risk, we will not be able to accomodate that child in our programs for the safety of the other participants.
We don't allow visitors during class time due to insurance coverage as well as the safety of our students. All of our teachers are required to have background checks in order to be in class.
We will use on-site park restrooms when they are open. . Please take your child to the restroom when you arrive so that they can begin the day ready to play. If a child needs to have a "bio break" during class and the restrooms are not accessible, a teacher will help the child relieve themselves in a private area away from others. Teachers pack out waste and follow “leave no trace” standards.
What to Bring
- A second set of clothing, socks, and mittens stored in a plastic bag. Please label everything!
- Lunch: provide a healthy, hearty and convenient lunch as we have lunch time every day.
- Water: Your child will also need a stainless steel water bottle, refilled for each class..
- Sunscreen and bug spray should be applied before the start of class if desired.
- Please DO NOT bring any toys, electronics, or personal items from home. This creates a distraction from our play in nature, and we will not be held responsible for anything lost or broken.
Clothing and Gear
We wholeheartedly embrace the mantra that “there is no such things as bad weather, only inadequate clothing!”
***Helping your child dress comfortably for the weather and role modeling a positive attitude about the weather are the two things you can do to set your child up for success in our programs.***
• LABEL your child’s hats, gloves and mittens and coats
•Make sure any and all clothing and shoes can get wet and dirty.
•Have an extra layer, top to bottom, including socks & gloves (when applicable) inside your child’s backpack. Please check your child’s backpack regularly.
• Layers, layers, layers! Many thin layers can be more comfortable than one thick layer and is more flexible for heat regulation.
Your child's backpack needs to be comfortable and the appropriate size for their body and able to carry all of their belongings. We've had previous students use a backpack similar to the photo below:
Boots must be waterproof and insulated. We highly recommend “Oakiwear,” or “Bogs.” Having warm and dry toes is CRITICAL for a successful day in the winter and fall forest, so please acquire the best boots you can for your child.
When the weather is fair and boots are not needed, we recommend comfortable, flexible shoes that will stay on and not hinder a child’s play while running, balancing, etc. Athletic shoes like tennis shoes, or water sandals with heel straps work well. PLEASE NO flip flops, clunky shoes, heals, or ballet flats.
We highly recommend thin soled “water shoes” for water play and even for general use. They provide excellent flexibility and grip for playing outside, and have the added benefit of being easily washed in the washing machine. Combine them with wool blend socks when the weather is dry for extra warmth.
When it is cold we recommend wool or wool-blend thermal socks. We highly recommend SmartWool. Don’t forget extras in the backpack!
HEAD & NECK:
A well-fitting wool or fleece hat is best. Preferably with ear flaps. Please do not rely on hoods. A neck warmer is preferable to a scarf so they don't get tangled while playing. Consider using a wool or wool/silk blend balaclava during extra cold weather.
MITTENS & GLOVES:
Send your child with 2 pairs of waterproof mittens and 2 pairs of knit finger gloves, minimum.
We have learned that there is no such thing as a waterproof glove. Any glove that claims to be waterproof is really only waterproof for an hour or so in the snow. It is critical to include pairs of backup gloves in their backpacks. It’s also essential on cold days to pack knit gloves that they can wear while eating their snack.
Gloves should fit well - if they don't, they are always falling off and exposing hands to the cold. It’s important that the glove fits over the sleeve of the jacket—not under.
Please find gloves that have a
1. Cinch around the wrist
2. A drawstring at the forearm
Knit finger gloves are needed for eating snack on the coldest winter days! Here are some examples:
- It will keep your child's hands warm and dry longer if you are able to send them wearing thin mittens underneath their waterproof gloves.
- Hand and toe warmer packs are amazing and you may want to throw some in your child's backpack just in case.
It is helpful to have a range of under layers to keep your child warm and comfortable in various temperatures.
↟ Base layer: a thin layer of silk, wool, or Capilene long underwear. (NO cotton.)
↟ Mid-weight: a middle layer of wool, or Capilene
↟ Heavy-weight: a thick layer of wool or fleece
***When it is fairly warm you will find a base layer under rain paints and a fleece or rain coat is sufficient. During really cold months, using all three layers under rain pants is necessary to keep your child warm and dry. On top, a base layer and mid-layer are helpful under a fleece or rain coat.
Rain pants are a crucial layer and are required for the months of October - April. They keep your child comfortable even when it’s not raining because the ground will be cool and damp. During very rainy weather, rain pants are better than snow pants because snow pants can absorb water and rarely have ankle cinches. It is crucial that the pants have a closure (Velcro, elastic, cord and toggle) at the ankle to cinch the pants tight over boots to keep water out. We highly recommend Oaki, REI or Lands End rain pants. For other rain gear or gear that has been out in the rain for a season or more you may want to spray it with a water repellent spray such as Atsko's Silicon Water guard.
Layers are important. A good fleece coat with a sturdy, proven rain jacket on top are ideal. This keeps the warmth in and rain and wind out. It is crucial that the waterproof coat have a system for cinching at the wrist to keep water out. We highly recommend Oaki, REI, Columbia, Polarn O. Pyret, or Hatley brands.
TREATING RAIN GEAR:
Rain pants or waterproof jackets must NOT be dried in dryers otherwise they will loose their waterproofing ability. Wash in washing machine on cold and gentle and hang dry. You can also rinse rain pants/jackets in the sink and hang to dry. If waterproofing ability begins to fade or to ensure extra strength waterproof ability, you may treat rain gear with a Durable Water Repellant.