Frequently Asked Questions

But, what if it rains?


As the forest school adage goes, there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing choices. If we're lucky enough to have rain, we require that children come dressed in a muddy buddy (or rain jacket and waterproof pants) and rain boots. In rare cases of extreme weather (lightning storms, severe wind and rain, etc.) class will be canceled and an emergency closure day utilized.




What curriculum is utilized? Will my child be prepared academically?


The Native School leverages emergent and creative curriculum, based on our well rounded, holistic approach to literacy. While our methodology and strong belief in forest school outdoor education may be different than a typical walled classroom, our program meets and exceeds state standards in literacy. This includes shared reading, shared writing, quality independent reading, and word study to name a few. These literacy components draw on the natural materials and inspirations of our outdoor classrooms. We do not simply bring reading or writing instruction outdoors; we pull from our students’ emergent discoveries, evolving interests, hands on outdoor classroom experiences, and choose meaningful “living stories” with topics that our students are interested in. In this way, learning is experiential and involved, and not reduced to a simple absorption of facts.




What about restroom visits? How does that work?


We have access to public restrooms, but if an urgent bathroom need arises teachers are prepared “Native School style” with portable sanitation supplies. We follow a carry in/carry out, leave no trace policy.




Why do you ask for a commitment for the September-June school year?


Our program is built on relationships and community. This is at the very heart of our school, and naturally, these things take time to build and cultivate. Annually, we have an 80% return student rate, which speaks to how valued our program is for families. We can only sustain this momentum when families are committed for the duration of the school year. Additionally, our forest school is focused on integration with nature. This includes the rhythm of the seasons, which can only be observed and felt by attending the full year cycle with us.




How do I best prepare and dress my child for forest school?


Once enrolled, The Native School provides a comprehensive Parent Orientation deck which reviews and recommends all clothing to best prepare your child for all seasons and conditions. It also goes over gear outfitting, as well as lunch and snack recommendations for phsically active forest schoolers.




How does your wait list work?


Our enrollment process is a three step process: 1) Submit a New Student Application via our Enrollment page 2) Confirm an RSVP via email to attend a Parent Information Session to ensure we're a mutual fit 3) Once you've confirmed you wish to pursue enrollment, you'll be placed on our wait list if no openings are immediately available Once on our wait list, slot openings will be assessed based on a number of factors, including boy-girl ratio, age, length of time on waitlist, desired class location, and desired attendance schedule.




How are you managing COVID safety?


While The Native School cleans and disinfects shared supplies regularly, our supplies and our outdoor classrooms are not a sterile environment. Participating in our outdoor program could increase the risk of contracting COVID-19. The Native School in no way guarantees that COVID-19 infection will not occur through participation in our program. Everyone understands that there is some level of risk in any activity - whether it be going for a walk, going to the grocery store, or attending Native School classes. While we have many precautions in place (temperature checks, frequent handwashing, intermittently breaking into smaller groups, staff face coverings), we do not expect that young children will be able to maintain “social distance” at all times from their peers, despite best efforts. Children gravitate towards each other and play in close proximity to one another, forming friendships and community bonds. Additionally, young children often need help from their teacher with their jacket, shoe laces, etc and seek teacher comfort when they’re sad or hurt. Children emotionally benefit from reassurance. We know that our students will need hugs and comfort at times, and thus, there will be some physical contact between teachers and children. Masks are required for teachers at all times. Despite being outdoors, masks are required for parents and students during drop-off and pick-up, due to being a high congestion and busy time.