FINCASTLE, VA FARM SCHOOL

Upcoming open houses: October 26, 2022 and February 15, 2023
Sign up at https://app.iclasspro.com/portal/valleyforestschool

The Farm School of Valley Forest School is focused on homesteading skills, gardening and animal husbandry including caring for horses, sheep, rabbits, chickens, ducks, and llamas. Students are actively involved in responsible water management to contribute to the health of the Chesapeake bay water shed, including trout introduction. These students experience hands-on farm to table food production through raising meat chickens, vegetable and herb gardening, and food preservation. All farm animals are lovingly cared for, respected, and regenerative practices are followed when possible.

FARM PRESCHOOL- AGES 3-4

Farm preschool programs are ideal for children and parents who appreciate outdoor education and want to introduce their child to farm living in all 4 seasons in some of the earliest and most formative years of life. The program for 3-4 year olds focuses on physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development intertwined with connecting with nature and knowing where food comes from. 

All VFS programs are 100% outdoors in total nature immersion. Preschool classes are 4 hours. 

Enrollment for one semester is required. Enrollment for one year is preferred. Classes are on a weekly basis for 1-3 days per week. 

Visit our parent portal to view more details about our farm preschool programs including class times, requirements, and tuition/fees.

FARM KINDERGARTEN- AGES 5-7

Farm Kindergarten programs are ideal for children and parents who appreciate outdoor education and farm living in all 4 seasons in the early educational years of life. The Farm Kindergarten students focus on physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development intertwined with connecting with nature and knowing where food comes from. 

Farm Kindergarten does not replace traditional kindergarten. It is a homeschool enrichment program.

All VFS programs are 100% outdoors in total nature immersion. Kindergarten classes are 5.5 hours.

Enrollment for one semester is required. Enrollment for one year is preferred. Classes are on a weekly basis for 1-3 days per week. 

Visit our parent portal to view more details about our forest kindergarten programs including class times, requirements, and tuition/fees.

FARM CO-OP- AGES 8-12

Farm Co-Op programs are ideal for children and parents who appreciate outdoor education in all 4 seasons throughout older childhood and want their child to connect to the land through farm living. The Farm Co-Op program focuses on physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development intertwined with connecting with nature and knowing where food comes from. 

Farm Co-Op is a homeschool enrichment program.

All VFS programs are 100% outdoors in total nature immersion. Preschool classes are 4 hours. 

Enrollment for one semester is required. Enrollment for one year is preferred. Classes are on a weekly basis for 1-3 days per week. 

Visit our parent portal to view more details about our co-op programs including class times, requirements, and tuition/fees.

A TYPICAL DAY IN THE LIFE AT FARM SCHOOL

Children arrive at 9 am as the morning sun creeps over the tops of the Appalachian Mountains where farm school is perfectly located. As moms and dads give hugs goodbye, all students merge their first half hour of the day playing freely with all age groups from ages 3-12. Sheep are bleating nearby as the animals are ready for care.

The day is ready to begin as the students follow the "Ca Ca!" bird call of their teacher for a morning circle to start the day with just their class and their Lead Instructor. Morning circle often includes stretching and exercises, educational components, observing and discussing the weather, and singing songs. After morning circle, students get fueled with a snack and hydrated before starting their seasonal farm chores including collecting eggs, shearing sheep, tending to the garden, or feeding the llamas.

Their teacher is their guide- available to answer their questions, point out interesting observations, encourage creativity, distract from rainy weather, and manage risks. After exploring and learning about farm life through experience, they refuel with lunch packed from home or harvested from the garden. The teachers engage with the children as they chatter among one another. While their food digests and their bodies rest, they relax and listen to their teacher read stories. After the read aloud is over, the children are ready to get moving again and spend another half hour in free play at the creek or tree swing while building friendships. Kinder and Co-Op students spend the afternoon learning advanced farm skills.

The last part of their day is spent scribbling and drawing in their nature journals freely however they like. An afternoon circle time wraps up the day as students share their drawing with the other students. Parents arrive at 1:00 for preschool pick up or 2:30 for kindergarten and co-op pick up- just in time to take a nap on the drive through the mountains towards home.