About Forest School

nature school and forest school colorado springs outdoor kids program

“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)


My name is Maria Arefieva. I’m the founder of Real Red Riding Hoods forest school and I wanted to welcome you to our website and thank you for your interest in our program.

Our forest school opened in May 2019. We offer both a year around full nature-immersion outdoor program for mixed age group of children in Colorado Springs and Monument areas. And also music, science and arts homeschooling enrichment program, where children can learn music, arts and handiwork at our school house. Visit our Homeschool Enrichment page for details.

We also offer Pre-K nature program on all 5 days of the week.

I’m excited to share with you that for 2022-2023 school year we’ve expanded our schedule.

I invite you to browse through our website to learn about our what we do and I hope to meet you and your little explorer one day in person.

Maria Arefieva
Founder / Director

Maria Arefieva

Homeschool enrichment programs

Forest school program


Music, arts and science program


Want to see what we do?

The best way to see what occurs at our forest school 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 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 forest school
Colorado Springs, CO

(719) 960-0612