About Forest School

nature school and forest school colorado springs outdoor kids program

Did you know that since the 1970s, children have lost 12 hours a week of free time? And that an average American child spends only four to seven minutes per day in unstructured outdoor play?

Children simply aren’t spending enough time outdoors in unstructured environment. As a result studies show that today’s children are weaker, less fit and less emotionally stable than previous generations. In fact, experts say this may be the first generation at risk of having a shorter lifespan than their parents.

Forest schools seek to bring children out of classrooms and into nature where they can learn, discover and experience the touch of the living world, developing in a more balanced and natural way.

Our Team

Maria Arefieva

Founder & Owner
Forest School Instructor

Valentina Arefieva

Crafts Instructor

We are passionate about making childhood full of wonder and magic. We strive to inspire children to discover the world around them and to learn more about it, first with our help and then on their own. Here you can read more about us, our skills, passions and what we bring to the children.

Our team

The benefits of forest schools

nature schoolcolorado springs outdoor kids program

The benefits of a forest school approach are wide and many:

  • Improves children’s mental health
  • Makes them happier
  • Brings about better social skills
  • Reduces stress
  • Prevents shortsightedness
  • Prevents allergies
  • Invokes the entire sensory system

In this blog post we share number of great studies about the value of being outdoors for childhood development. This great article talks about the benefits of outdoor play vs. indoor play. We also highly recommend the Childhood by Nature website to learn more about why having kids outdoors is so critical.

Program and activities

We are an outdoor-focused program for children from ages 3-6, offering both preschool and home-schooling enrichment programs. Children of all ages spend abundant time in nature.

Forest school in Palmer Lake,
ages 3-4

COVID-19 update:
Palmer Lake program will re-open in Spring 2021

Our nature school (also known as nature kindergarten) in Palmer Lake is most ideal for the younger children ages 3-4 years old. The program is a blend of a forest school with some aspects from Waldorf pedagogy. We also often find ourself closely aligned with Rego Emeilia views in early childhood development. We believe any learning should be child-led, allowing each child to follow their interests.

Our Palmer Lake program includes 2-3 hour hike and free-play in the forest. After we return from the forest to the school cabin children have an opportunity to participate in an art project, baking, gardening, a story time or playdough sculpting.

We keep the activities scheduled lightly allowing each child plenty of time to immerse in the project should they wish to, as well as to have plenty of break time in between for free play and movement.

Forest school in Colorado Springs,
ages 4-8

COVID-19 update:
Colorado Springs program is open and in operation!

Our Colorado Springs forest school program is meant for ages 4-8. This program is ideal for both younger children serving as an alternative to a kindergarten, or as a homeschool enrichment program for the school age kiddos.

On this program we spend 5.5 hours exclusively outdoors. Our typical day starts with good hike. We have a few favorite hiking trails and all of them are breathtaking!

Our hikes have plentiful breaks at children’s requests. We keep it playful and fun. Most days our biggest challenge is keeping up with the kiddos on the trails :))

After the hike we settle down at one of our most beloved spots in the canyon were spend the remaining time of the program having lunch, working on an art project, practicing our reading and writing (for the older kiddos) and of course, lots of free play for all ages!

More information

Want to see what we do?

The best way to see our program is to follow us on Instagram, where we share photos almost daily. On our blog we share photos from recent community events at the forest school as well as our learning activities.

Real Red Riding Hoods forest school
Colorado Springs, CO

(719) 960-0612