Heartwood Nature School is committed to serving families who wish to bestow the healing and learning experiences of nature to their children. Through a deep connection to nature and all its processes and struggles, children thrive and learn not only to love nature, but to truly care for it. It is our belief that you cannot truly love something you don’t have a relationship with, and it is our goal to nurture each child’s relationship with nature. Combined with organic, intellectual learning and the cultivation of a moral compass that includes learning how to become allies in the world-wide struggle for equality and justice, children will emerge from this experience with a strong character, a curious and creative mind, and a generous heart.
Our curriculum is based on nature itself, found both in the beauty that surrounds us at Maple Crest Farm and in the children themselves. Children are born curious. It is what lights a fire inside them, urging them to develop. Our teachers see profound capabilities in a child and in their innate desire for learning. Observing these capabilities and desires and capitalizing on a child’s interests is our first step when forming our learning plans. Though we consider our learning emergent and organic, there are also learning standards put in place by the state that we wish to adhere to so that children who emerge from our programming do not experience hiccups upon entering a more traditional school. With that in mind, we also believe that an experienced teacher can gently guide children to follow this curriculum while keeping a very natural flow.
What about the weather?
Mark Twain said that if you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a minute. Weather here can be hot and buggy or brutally cold. We are committed to experiencing the outdoors no matter the weather. When children and teachers are geared and dressed properly, time in nature can be supremely enjoyable. Proper gear is a must and we are here to answer questions and recommend what works best for your family and your budget.
Our heated 24’ yurt is there for us should we need it in truly inclement weather. We may spend a little bit of each day inside the yurt, but our goal is getting the kids comfortable with being outside as much as possible. There will be days, however, that it is simply not safe to be in the woods. High winds, sub-zero temperatures, and a persistent threat of thunderstorms would lead us to cancel school for the day in order to keep everyone safe.
Early Childhood Learning in the Forest