PROGRAMS

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Forest School:
Experiential outdoor learning program for early childhood

Hikes, guided nature observations and play-based learning in nature help your child build friendships, self-regulation, confidence and character. Ages 3–8.

Monday – Friday | 9 AM–Noon

Students may attend 1–2 days/week. Excursions in Miller Nature Area and Bird Hills Nature Area. Admissions on a rolling basis.

Daily Rates
Age 3 | $120
Ages 4-6 | $90

Ages 7-8 | $65
Commitment & referral discounts available.

Forest After School:
Experiential outdoor learning program for youth

Hikes, guided nature observations, group games and time to explore help your child make friends and play outside after school. Ages 7–12. 

Mondays–Fridays | 3:30–5 PM

 

Forest Friends:
Experiential outdoor leadership program for youth

Youth mentors shape leadership skills at the Forest School, assisting with the morning or afternoon program.

Ages 9–17 | Inquire within.

An Extraordinary Outdoor Experience.

The program includes:

  • A Small Class Size. We have 5 students per teacher, with a maximum of 10 students, allowing for children to form close bonds and to receive the individual attention they need.
  • High-Quality Gear Recommendations for Outdoor Play. We advise parents on specialized seasonal clothing designed to keep kids safe—from rain gloves and balaclavas to boots and thermal underwear.
  • Travel / Outings. We spend each day in the wooded Miller Nature Area and Bird Hills Nature Area.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
ARE THE PRESCHOOLERS REALLY OUTSIDE ALL THE TIME AT A FOREST SCHOOL?
At the Ann Arbor Forest School, we go outside every day, unless conditions are unsafe. Though we are outside most of the day, children nap indoors. As an experienced teacher in outdoor preschool education, Tara designs the day’s activities to manage the well-being of every child— and makes sure every kid is properly dressed for weather.
HOW DO YOU KEEP WARM IN WINTER?

In the winter, the temperature varies from 40 to -20 F. Our plans for the day (and the layers we wear) are entirely dependent on where we fall in that 60 degree spread. Tara helps parents provide the right layers and outerwear for their child and supplements this with specialized gear. We wear layers of wool and fleece and breathable wind blocking shells. These fabrics keep us warm and dry even if a child manages to get wet. All of the children are issued a breathable, wind-blocking Little Buffalo Mountain Shirt. If it’s windy, we wear face masks and ski goggles. In the winter we always bring extra layers in our Alaskan supply sled so we can handle an unpredictable situation on the spot. We wear snow helmets while sledding and for climbing ice mountain.
To keep our bodies warm, we keep active: taking walks and doings lots of sledding on the hill behind our house. We stay well hydrated in the winter to help our bodies regulate their temperature.

WHAT IF IT'S REALLY HOT OUT?
To manage the heat in summer, we make sure that we are prepared with our sun hat, sun shirt, loose light colored cotton clothing, and closed-toe sandals. We hydrate all day long, stay in the shade or turn on the sprinkler to cool down. If the humidity or heat index is too high, we take a break in the heat of the day to play inside. Three mornings a week we go to the tot splash at Buhr Park Pool.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN IT RAINS?

If there is lightning, we go indoors and wait 30 minutes after the last thunder/lighting before resuming activities outside.
If there is no lightning, we enjoy the rain and keep dry with proper gear. We wear rain coats, rain pants or waders, rain gloves, and rain boots. The rain provides us new opportunities to learn: for example, we might go on a puddle walk to discover the water cycle firsthand. The children hypothesize where in the park we will find the most puddles. We play in the puddles and follow the water as it flows, making the connection to Mallett’s Creek.

WHAT IS THE STUDENT TO TEACHER RATIO?
1:6
CAN MY CHILD ATTEND KINDERGARTEN HERE?
Yes! Your child can join us (or stay with us) for kindergarten