Forest Preschool

Launched in September 2018

“We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children's memories, the adventures we've had together in nature will always exist.”—Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods

Forest Preschools and Kindergartens have been popular in Europe for decades. The first one opened in Denmark in the 1950s, and they became a state-subsidized daycare option in Germany in 1993. Playing outside for prolonged periods has been shown to have a positive impact on children's development, particularly in the areas of balance and agility, but also manual dexterity, physical coordination, tactile sensitivity, and depth perception. According to studies, children who attend Forest Preschools and Kindergartens experience fewer injuries due to accidents and are less likely to injure themselves in a fall. A child's ability to assess risks improves, for example in handling fire and dangerous tools. (Citations available here.)

All our Early Childhood programs include significant outdoor time each day; research shows that this results in decreased overall stress and behavioral issues among children, reduced noise stress when compared to an indoor classroom, and improved self-discipline among students, along with the benefits described above.

   Our Forest Preschool shelter provides a warm, dry place for rainy and snowy days.

Our Forest Preschool shelter provides a warm, dry place for rainy and snowy days.

   Some of our Forest Preschool children with teacher Jessica Oswald.

Some of our Forest Preschool children with teacher Jessica Oswald.

Our Forest Preschool is located just a short walk from our main campus, in a lushly wooded area that includes trails and a stream. The outdoor space includes a shelter for rainy and snowy days as well as a fire pit for warmth (and for roasting food for snack and lunch). A beautiful classroom on the main campus can be used for exceptionally inclement weather, and for special celebrations like birthdays.

We are located in Rockland County, New York, just three miles from Bergen County, New Jersey. Our beautiful campus is comprised of 11 acres with access to farm, fields, streams, and forest.

Please contact Admissions Director Melissa McDonagh for details and/or a private tour of our Forest Preschool.

Saturday Forest Parent & Child Classes

Please join us for some time in the forest. These weekly classes began in September, taking place on Saturdays from 10am-noon, and are nurturing for both parent and child alike. We gather to build a fire, prepare a meal over the fire, and eat together. Interwoven throughout the morning are songs, fingerplays, verses, and ample time for the children to explore the forest. Register with Jessica Oswald.

   Our Forest Preschool allows children to benefit from the unique learning experiences that come with time spent almost exclusively outdoors.

Our Forest Preschool allows children to benefit from the unique learning experiences that come with time spent almost exclusively outdoors.

Curious about our other Preschool ProgramsLower School, Middle School, or High School? Click the relevant section name to learn more, or come visit!