About Forest School

outdoor kids program colorado springs forest school

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

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.

Preschool and Kindergarten programs

Preschool age children are welcome on all days.

On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays we offer a full-day schedule that also includes an afternoon nap/rest for the youngest adventurers. Those children who no longer do naps have quiet time in the form of a craft or a story, followed by more outdoor time. At the end of the day, we do a Waldorf-inspired reading lesson that all children are welcome to participate in if they so choose.

Our Programs and Activities page has a more detailed breakdown of the daily rhythm and types of activities we do.

Learn more

Homeschool enrichment program

For older children, we offer abundant opportunities to spend time outdoors in the company of other children, hiking and exploring. We typically spend the entire first part of the day in the forest, no matter the weather, where children have a lot of time for unstructured play and exploration.

In the afternoons children have the opportunity to participate in various artistic and skill-building projects, such as watercoloring, clay modeling, dramatic play, sewing, embroidery, woodwork and gardening. A lot of skill-building activities are done through one-on-one work with one of our instructors. See our Programs and Activities page for details.

Learn more

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 & daycare
279 Walnut Ave • Palmer Lake, CO

(719) 960-0612