About Us

“My oldest child has participated in Real Red Riding Hoods for nearly one year—through winter, spring and summer. It has easily been the most incredible, unique and educational experience of his childhood to this point.” ~ Emily (google review)

nature school and forest school colorado springs outdoor kids program

Real Red Riding Hoods, a Colorado non-profit homeschool enrichment program, is your partner in creating extraordinary enrichment for your child’s education. We infuse your child’s learning with outdoor adventures, music, arts, and captivating science. Our immersive experiences kindle curiosity, nurture growth, and ignite creativity. Come join us on this thrilling journey!

Welcome from the owner and founder


I am Maria Arefieva, the driving force behind Real Red Riding Hoods. With great pleasure, I invite you to learn more about our wonderful programs though this website.

Being a homeschooling family ourselves, we deeply understand the importance of crafting an education that is tailor-made, flexible, enjoyable, and captivating—cultivating a love for learning and the courage to embrace new skills in our children.

We recognize the effort you put into making your homeschooling experience distinct, exciting, and engaging. Our role is to lend a hand by providing programs in areas that might pose a challenge at home or thrive in a group setting!

Our journey began in 2019 with a nature preschool program for the youngest adventurers. Since its inception, our program has flourished and we’re proud to now offer a spectrum of programs catering to children from preschool to Grade 4. While we continue to nurture our cherished nature preschool, we’ve expanded to present a 5-hour all-outdoor forest school adventure, complete with enriching hikes, explorations, and even rock climbing. Additionally, our music, arts, and science program empowers children to explore music, delve into the wonders of science, and unleash their creativity through hands-on and artistic endeavors.

Every facet of our curriculums is meticulously crafted to captivate and engage young minds. Furthermore, we’ve ensured that ample time for free play is an integral part of all our programs. This allows children to relish moments with their peers while acquiring essential social skills that pave the way for their future success.

I cordially invite you to navigate through our website to unveil the essence of what we offer. And, with heartfelt anticipation, I look forward to the day when our paths cross, giving me the pleasure of meeting you and your intrepid explorer in person.

Maria Arefieva
Founder / Director

Maria Arefieva

Our programs

Forest school


Music, arts and science


Want to see what we do?

The best way to see what occurs at our forest school and music, arts and science programs 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 was a dream come true for our family. Both locations had magical qualities and benefits and if we had stayed in Colorado I would have been thrilled to have days in both locations.

“… They LOVED going to school and looked forward to it so much. And they were always proud to tell people about their school and how they were out in the forest for hours in any kind of weather. Maria is SO incredibly gifted at working with children and creating an environment that fosters creativity and interest in learning, while allowing the children freedom to follow their own interests too.” ~ Elan (google review)

The benefits of forest schools

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.

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.

Real Red Riding Hoods educational programs
Palmer Lake, CO

(719) 960-0612