Our programs support whole-child development through recreational, outdoor, nature-based programming for young children in the context of a youth sports league using “forest school” pedagogy. Please see our philosophy page if you are new to this method of education.
Valley Forest School is a member of the Forest School League.
Enrollment for 2021-2022 begins March 1, 2021.
The first step to enroll at Valley Forest School is to browse our various class offerings to see what is the best fit for your family. If you find a class you're interested in, submit a registration request and we will be in contact with you shortly! This is also where you will find tuition rates.
$150 enrollment fee for first year students
$50 re-enrollment fee
($200 family maximum for enrollment fees)
Please visit our clothing requirements page to view items necessary for enrollment in all programs.
A TYPICAL DAY IN THE LIFE OF A FOREST PRESCHOOLER IN CATAWBA, VA
Children arrive at 9 am as the morning sun creeps over the tops of the Appalachian Mountains where forest school is perfectly located. As moms and dads give hugs goodbye, preschoolers merge their first half hour of the day playing freely with all age groups from ages 3-12.
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 of 10 students with 2 teachers. Morning circle often includes stretching, introducing the theme of the day, observing and discussing the weather, and singing songs. After morning circle, teachers help preschoolers get their snacks to get fueled and hydrated before going on a preschool-paced nature walk. They take a pit stop at our composting toilet before wandering into the forest.
Their teacher is their guide- available to answer their questions, point out interesting observations, encourage creativity, distract from rainy weather, and manage risks. After 45 minutes of nature exploring, students come back to the picnic tables to refuel for lunch. The teachers help them with their lunches as they chatter among one another about anything from the texture of the mud to the color of the leaves. While their food digests and their bodies rest, they relax and listen to their teacher read picture books. By the time the read aloud is over, the students are ready to get moving again and spend another half hour in free play at the mud kitchen, tree swing, or fairy fort while building friendships.
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(if they want). Parents arrive at 1:00 for pick up- just in time to take a nap on the drive through the mountains towards home.