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. Total commitment to nature immersion regardless of weather
2. Flow learning
3. Inquiry-based teaching style
4. Documentation of Emergent Curriculum
5. Place-based education
6. Respect for others, self, and the earth
7. Positive reinforcement approach
8. Emphasis on individual empowerment and group bonding
9. Authentic play
10. Exposure to moderate risk
11. 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. Follow us on social media for school updates, and consider joining @rewildyourself.utah on Instagram or Facebook for more ways to get connected to our nature-loving community.
*These gatherings are on hold for the time being due to Covid-19
Your teachers can be reached via cell phone:
Kylie Power (801) 623-3325
Lissa Kennedy (801) 735-5167
Sarah Knee (847) 894-3562
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. We keep our class time free from interruptions and screens unless their 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. Please email us.
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.
We have built into our school year schedule four additional cancellations days for severe weather, illness, or emergencies.
Our Wildlings and Explorers 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.
In the winter months on the days when the snow is deep and/or Southfork road becomes too difficult to consistently travel on, we hold class at our location to the Dry Canyon trailhead in Lindon, Utah. This location is easy to access and conveniently located. It also tends to be more sunny and warm and receives much less snow than Big Springs.
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. In the winter when the temperature drops or the roads are difficult, we hold class in Pleasant Grove.
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.
Tuesdays 9:30 - 11:30 South Fork
Thursdays 9:30 - 11:30 South Fork
Monday 10:00 - 12:30 Big Springs
Monday 1:00 - 3:30 Big Springs
Tuesday 12:00 - 2:30 Big Springs
Wednesday 10:00 - 12:30 Big Springs
Thursday 12:00 - 2:30 Big Springs
2nd Saturday of the month 10:00-1:00 Big Springs
↟ Seedlings class is taught in seasonal sessions.
↟ Wildlings classes run for the full school year.
↟ Explorers class is a once a month class for the full school year.
Tuition is due by the first of the month and no later than the 5th. There is a $5 per day late fee for late payments (capped at $20). Payments should be made through the
Venmo App @wildwoodforestschool
1 class per week $80 /month
2 classes per week $155 /month
1 class per week $96 /month
2 classes per week $180 /month
3 classes per week $270 /month
4 classes per week $340 /month
1 class per month $30 /month
*We also offer a 10% sibling discount.
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.
What to Bring
Please send your child to class each day with a backpack. Inside the backpack they will need an entire second set of clothing, socks, and mittens. These can be stored in a plastic bag so that wet/soiled clothes can then be sent home in this plastic bag.
Your child will also need a stainless steel water bottle.
Your child may also want water shoes in their backpack during the warm months.
Everything should be labeled with the child’s name on it. Sunscreen and bug spray should be applied before the start of class. 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.
Please send your child with a healthy, hearty and convenient lunch as well as a metal water bottle with your child’s name on it in their backpack. We will have lunch time each day to recharge and hydrate.
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. During the colder months when the park restrooms are closed, the children will use our pack-in, pack-out camping toilet. Boys will also have the option to do a "nature pee" in a designated area away from others. We will use disinfectant wipes on hands after each bathroom use.
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 or 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.
• Put all your child’s clothes inside a plastic bag, inside their backpack and include an extra plastic bag for dirty clothes to go into when necessary. This will also keep the clothes dry if it is raining or their backpacks get muddy.
For younger children, stretchy waist bands are ideal for easy and fast use of the restroom.
Do not use one-piece clothing as it is difficult to remove quickly when children need to potty.
• Layers, layers, layers! Many thin layers can be more comfortable than one thick layer and is more flexible for heat regulation.
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 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 heal 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:
We recommend you own multiple pairs (3-4) of gloves/mittens for your child, and pack extras (2-3 pairs of different types) in their winter backpack each day. This ensures that they have the right pair of gloves for the temperature, their comfort level, and have extras in case some get wet. Mittens that have a zipper up the back of the hand (like from the brands Gordini or Outdoor Research) are much easier for getting little cold or wet fingers in and out of. If your child prefers gloves with fingers, then Oakiwear neoprene gloves work well.
*Pro tip: on the coldest days, send your child with both fingered cloth mittens inside waterproof mits!
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 through 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 Oakiwear, 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 Oakiwear, 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.
During warmer weather, children may come to school with bathing suits under their regular clothing for water play.