What is The Native School?
The Native School is a 100% place-based, outdoor forest school offering preschool and kindergarten classes across North County San Diego. Our nature classrooms are located throughout San Diego, utilizing a variety of local ecosystems as our teacher and classroom. Our foundation is based on the Scandinavian Forest School model, equally intertwined with the Reggio Emilia approach to education, California State Standards of Education and Creative Curriculum. We embrace inquiry, exploration, discovery, and student self-determination at our core.
Through this innovative integration of approaches to early learning and child development, teachers embody the role of facilitator and supporter and the natural classroom environment becomes the third teacher, where endless learning opportunities and mediums are presented through the natural loose parts offered by our environment and student discoveries. Students gain rugged and rich hands-on experience and develop a strong educational foundation, meeting school readiness standards and age-appropriate developmental tasks for math, language, literacy, science, social and emotional learning, and motor skills through emergent learning within their environment.
Our diverse team of teachers do not simply bring typical classroom activities outdoors, rather they engage students in emergent opportunities for learning through experiences presented by the great outdoors. As a result, participation and curiosity fuel the journey of learning for our students as they develop a whole-hearted love for education and their environment. They become experts of their own world, gaining confidence in their skills and a desire to continue learning.
Our Program Ethos
Our school was founded on a strong passion for outdoor learning and the Reggio Emilia inspired belief that children possess a hundred languages, meaning countless ways of thinking, expressing, comprehending, and witnessing through their environment and observations. Our students actively engage in the balance of autonomy, self-determination, and empowerment as they learn from their own powerful inquiries. Student interests become the vehicle for developmental and educational standards to be embedded and integrated as teachers facilitate deeper understanding, becoming the catalyst to a genuine love for learning. Teachers utilize their roles as scaffolders, offering guidance and assistance while also honoring each students’ emergent learning process. Students are challenged to problem solve beyond their current abilities, fostering confidence in their emerging skills and honoring the extraordinary potentials of their hundred languages.