Washtenaw County’s FIRST FOREST PRESCHOOL
Every time they climb a tree, jump a fence, or roll down a hill, their bodies, minds, and spirits are exercised. Nature helps children relax, problem solve, release built-up anxiety and energy, clear their thoughts, gain perspective on things, and sort out inner dilemmas.
– Nature Sparks, Connecting Children’s Learning to the Natural World by Aerial Cross
What’s a forest school?
The Forest School movement is a growing international approach based on learning in the natural environment. Children at the Ann Arbor Forest School enjoy fresh air, freedom to explore and make discoveries, and organic opportunities to collaborate with their peers and make connections to the world around them.
We offer a unique and powerful preschool experience to children ages 3-6. We’re centrally located between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, adjacent to Buhr Park. Our class size is intentionally small, limited to 6 children. We offer programs for homeschoolers and parents of younger children to join us on our daily outdoor adventures. Think the Ann Arbor Forest School might be an ideal opportunity for your child? Send us a note!
We’re outside. Every day.
Our curriculum is play-based, place-based, and focused on developing kindergarten readiness. We’re committed to strengthening each child’s confidence and skills so that he or she becomes an agile problem-solver and a ready learner.
Each morning, we venture out to learn in the fields, forests, and wetlands of Buhr Park, Mary Beth Doyle Park, County Farm Park, and Cobblestone Farm.
That’s a total of over 260 acres of diverse landscapes, ideal for our place-based learning curriculum—all within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from our school!
“(I love) the atmosphere of cooperation, mutual respect, and caring that Tara elicits among the children. She brings out the best in them and brings them together through her gentle encouragement and guidance.”
“(My son) has become willing to take risks, more aware of himself and others, capable of taking on complicated projects, familiar with nature (i.e., naming birds, trees, plants), kind and thoughtful…a much more adventurous person all-around.”
“My children know how to play better, imaginative games. They observe the world better and understand their place in the world, both as part of the natural world and as people with great power to shape that world.”
“Your endless energy, patience, and kindness have been the epitome of a blessing for our family.”
“Problem-solving and conflict resolution skills learned with Tara are frequently remarked upon by his teachers now.”
“We were thrilled with the program. M. developed tremendous independence and problem-solving skills that will serve him well in AAPS.”
Active minds and bodies.
The Ann Arbor Forest School curriculum nurtures growth.
Our students learn joyfully. We:
- Run, walk, bike, climb, play, swim in summer, and sled in winter.
- Develop academic readiness skills through hands-on learning: telling stories, reading books, using math, singing, making art, and discovering the natural world.
- Enjoy special guest teachers regularly, including musician Joe Reilly.
- Prepare homemade snacks and lunch together.
- Learn cooperation and stewardship through projects that care for our neighborhood and environment.