Young children deserve as much time outdoors as possible, learning through play in natural environments. A growing body of research is showing that human development is most healthy when young children are allowed to move freely, focusing primarily on social-emotional development and connection with the natural world. Forest schools help provide the opportunity for nature connection that humans biologically require, and our Foundation was established to proliferate this model. The Forest School Foundation (www.TheForestSchoolFoundation.org) is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit located in Asheville, NC, created to provide future generations with safe and natural outdoor environments in which to play, learn, socialize, and develop. The Foundation plans to establish and support Forest Schools across the WNC region, including the provision of scholarships for underserved populations.
Our first school is Growing Wild Forest School, (www.GrowingWildForetSchool.org), started in December 2016. This five-day-a-week, half-day school meets for 10 months of the year in West Asheville. Families can choose which days of the week they'd like to enroll. We're offering six weeks of Summer Camp in 2019.
As we grow, we plan to offer an afternoon program, a weekly Mommy & Me program for families with children younger than 3, an after-school program for children older than 6, monthly adult programs, community education events, and teacher training. We also plan to establish more forest schools in the WNC region.